Greetings, fellow seniors, and welcome to our own little corner here on The Computer.com. It’s me, your old pal and champion Gus Henderson! Like me, you probably found this place when you typed “something nice for a senior citizen on a fixed income” into the little white space at the top of the screen in your gadget you don’t know why you need that your daughter’s know-it-all-husband bought for you for Christmas that year before she finally dumped the bum. As a fellow Old, I don’t have to tell you that I’ve got a lot of time on my hands, being one of society’s elders and not being allowed to work, or even drive to the store any more, leaving me plenty of time to reflect and offer up some chestnuts of common sense and wisdom.
All that free time and having a mind that’s still sharp as a tack because of The Daily Jumble and playing along with Wheel of Fortune, thank you very much, also leaves you open to be scammed. Scammers are always targeting us Olds. Here’s a statistic I read in the AARP pamphlet at Dr. Metcalf’s office: 99 percent of scams successfully perpetrated against the elderly are instigated against old people, old people just like you and me! That’s horrifying, and you know those fat cats in Congress aren’t going to do anything about it. Luckily, you’ve got Gus to tell you what you should be vigilant against out there. Here are the most common scams targeting seniors right this second.
THE HARRY TRUMAN
What happens is that someone calls you and says that they are President Harry S Truman, and that he needs you to re-enlist in the Army because the Japanese Imperialist Army is back in action and must be stopped. That’s all well and good, and surely a noble cause to be a boy in blue. But here’s the kicker: they’ll ask you to pay an “enlisting fee” of $5,000 in the form of a cashier’s check or money order immediately. This is, of course, a bald-faced lie. There’s no such thing as a $5,000 enlisting fee. When I paid it last year, it was only $4,000. I expect to ship out just as soon as I get my marching orders.
THE MAGAZINE SCAM
There’s a magazine for all kinds of interests these days, from history, to World War II, to the good ol’ days. But if a magazine man comes to your house selling subscriptions for what he claims to be a good price or for a good cause, turn him down, because you can be sure as Sam that he’s going to try to sell you a subscription to Pictures of Your Grandkids Magazine. Sadly, this magazine doesn’t exist, and apparently neither does a post office in my daughter’s town, because she hasn’t sent me any pictures of my grandkids in plum near five weeks. (She’s sent them to me on the computer, but I can’t figure out how to print them.)
I never liked hard candies until I retired from the plant two decades ago, but then, BAM, retirement hit and I couldn’t wait to tear into a cellophane sack full of butterscotch discs from the greengrocer. Not only does the flavor last a long time, but they are very affordable, and I am on a fixed income, sir. I must not be the only one because one of the most famous scams against old people is to send us a form in the mail to enroll us in the Butterscotch Disc of the Month Club. The mimeographed brochure will promise you 100 butterscotch discs delivered to your home each month for the reasonable price of $3.95. I don’t think I have to tell you that those butterscotch discs will never arrive.
ANDREWS SISTERS MARRIAGE SCAM
A variation of the old “lonely hearts” deal, in which a nice enough, easy on the eyes lady will try to get to be your lady friend, marry you, then divorce you and take you for all that you’re worth. That happened to my buddy, Joe, back in 1973. You know Joe. Nicest guy in the world, got a big heart, but it’s always getting him in trouble. Something about Sandy didn’t seem right when I met her at their wedding down at the VFW, and sure enough, six months later, Sandy’s gone and so are Joe’s stamps, coins, and medicine. Well, whoever makes up these scams (some bigshot down at the scam factory I guess!) found a way to hurt the old folks like us with it. I think the real Andrews Sisters are far too busy (and not to mention, hubba, hubba!) and have to fight off too many of us fellas off with a stick to be writing to some poor schlub, begging him to court her! I should see if Joe wants to go get a cup of coffee sometime. I heard they had to take his eye.
THE SUGAR DIABETES
Did you know that when you lose your leg to the sugar diabetes, they charge you $25,000? We are retired and on fixed incomes! That’s why I can tell you that if a doctor tells you that you’ve got the sugar diabetes and need to take this fancy pill and that fancy pill and this other fancy pill to make everything in your insides all systems go, and to go and get this foot taken off because of the gangrene, you tell him that he’s never going to get your hard-earned pension, thank you very much, and that you’re going to call the police.
Well, it’s time for ol’ Gus to sign off. The man who says he’s my great-grand-nephew—Donny, what a character—says that he is going to come by later. He says that he can take all of my unused pain medication that is just too strong for me to use, and sell it for twice what it’s worth to a reputable organization, and give me all the profits. What luck! That Donny sure is a nice boy, looking out for his old great-grand-uncle Gus. Anyway, be seeing you in all the old familiar places!
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Brian Boone is a contributor to Funny or Die, Someecards, Splitsider, The Chive, and Looper, and his work has appeared on McSweeney’s, StarWipe, and many other fine humor and pop culture destinations. He’s the author of several delightful books, wrote a musical about pirates, and came in third on Jeopardy! once. He will clog your Twitter timeline with dad jokes.