Scammer 2.0

Scammer 2.0

Many of you commented on the article about my relative Bill and the PCH fraud that was perpetrated on him. Here is the latest surprise happening that I want to make sure people know about.

Two days ago, Bill received a call from the scammers. Yes, they are still calling him. They told him that all they needed was another $555 and they would be showing up at his door with the grand prize. Again, Bill told them he had no more money. Scammer David told Bill to watch his mail because they were seeking a sponsor for him.

Sure enough, Bill’s mail carrier brought a Priority Mail package to his door yesterday. Inside was a money order for $555. Bill called me and I researched how easy it is to fake a money order. It is pretty easy. Still, I called the post office and was told that they could probably spot a fake and had a Website where they could search the number on the money order. So, off we go to the post office.

Now here is the surprising part. The money order was good and the post office cashed it right there. The clerk told me that if they were mistaken and it turned out to be fake, Bill would not be held liable and the money was his. If we had taken it to Bill’s bank and it proved to be fake, Bill would be liable. Well, needless to say, Bill was ecstatic. He’d been swindled out of almost $40K but here was a tiny portion of that back in his pocket. At this point, every little bit is a huge chunk of change for Bill.

So, back in the car we go to head to a bank where Bill could use the money to open a new account. We’re all worried that his current account is known to the scammers so he will be closing that as soon as everything clears.

Before I start the car, I look at the name and address where the money order originated. It looked legit. There was also a phone number. When I compared the info for Bill’s name and address his was correct as well, except for the phone number. The person sending the money order had been given a phone number that was not Bill’s. It probably belongs to one of the scammers.

You know what I’m thinking now, right? The person, who I will call Gail, had been scammed into sending the money order to Bill thinking she had won PCH. Sure enough, when Bill got home he got a call from Scammer David that he needed to wire the entire $555 back to them, then they would show up with his huge jackpot. Bill, of course, refused and disconnected the call. A few minutes later Scammer Jack calls Bill to tell him that he would no longer be hearing from Scammer David. Scammer Jack was on the case now. Jack proceeded to threaten Bill that the money belonged to PCH and they had ways to get it back. They say that if Bill does not return the money they will charge it to his credit card. Bill is shaken and upset.

Meanwhile, I have called the police detective on Bill’s case and relayed all of this info. Still nothing he can do. I looked up Gail’s address on Google maps. She is located in Ohio and her home looks like a divided condo, probably in a senior living community. I’m thinking this is not the home of a scammer. I decided to block my number and call Gail. After all, either she is a part of the scam, in which case I don’t want her to have my number, or she is being scammed and has a right to know. I was hoping it was early enough in the scam for her that she wasn’t out a lot of money. This was actually our first good clue for locating someone involved in the scam. We have a number for Scammer David in Kansas City Mo., but I worry he can somehow see my number even if I block it so I have not called him. Remember, Scammer David has answered every time Bill called him.

I managed to reach Gail and in less than a minute, I knew she was being scammed as well. She had the voice of an older woman, and fortunately, the $555 was the first amount she had been asked to send. Scammer David had already asked for the next installment of $4500 but Gail told me she was not going to send it. I assured her it was a scam and that she should not send any more money to anyone. She told me that she knew it was a scam from the first call. When I asked why she sent the money, she responded that she just wanted to see what would happen.

We talked for a while and when we ended the conversation, I felt comfortable that Gail would not continue to participate in the scam. However, we spoke for about fifteen minutes and at no point did Gail ask who I was, how I got her number, or why I chose to call her. She never asked what had happened to her $555 or if I could help her get it back. Some people are way too trusting, or, she is a part of the actual scam after all.

So here is Bill, still no money, trying to figure out how to pay his bills, but now with an extra $555 that needs to be returned to Gail once we know beyond a doubt that she is not part of the scam. We haven’t figured out exactly how to prove that yet.

At least Bill believes all of this is a scam now. He is no longer answering the phone if he doesn’t know the caller. The scammers called more than twenty times yesterday alone. They’ve lost $555 and they aren’t happy about that. You’d think the other $40K would be enough.

So readers, I am on a quest. By following through and contacting Gail, I have hopefully put a small chink in their chain and have at least saved Gail from further loss. I am actively pursuing other leads as well.

I am asking that if you, or someone you know, has lost money recently, this year, in the PCH scam and think you have information that could help keep others from being pulled into this scam, please email me and share the details. If we work together, we might be able to hurt these people financially, even if it’s only a small amount.
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A Universe of Stories

Maynardville Public Library Director Chantay Collins and Assistant Mandi Suddath

Maynardville Public Library has kicked off their Annual Summer Reading Program, A Universe of Stories. Reading is made fun with creative ways to earn prizes, rewards, and many perks of online programs. All ages are invited to join in on the program, youth and adult.

Tripping and Rolling

For most people, it would be a traumatic and possibly dangerous experience. To me, it was another one of my unexpected trips. Pun intended.

It happened at the end of gym class my sophomore year of high school. We didn’t dress out that day, instead we played a game of no rules basketball. When the first dismissal bell rung, I ran back up to the very top of the bleachers to get my folders. My friends and I had been sitting up there before we joined into the basketball game.

Salty Baked Potato

Whenever we are grilling out, I hate to take space for baked potatoes. Yes, they taste great cooked on the grill, but there is an easier way to do them. Just dip them in egg whites, sprinkle with coarse salt and pop them in the oven. The egg white holds the salt crystals in place and seasons the potato. You might think that is too much salt, but it isn't. Don't eat the skin if you have a problem with salt, but I do because I don't. They look pretty on the plate as well.

Childhood Memories (Not Made in Tennessee)

Hi Oh Silver, Away!!!

I was looking at an old picture not too long ago and it was like having a time machine. The picture was of me in cowboy get-up. At the sake of dating myself, I loved the old westerns on TV: Rifleman, Wagon Train, Maverick, Death Valley Days, Zorro, the ones in black and white, during what some call the Golden Age of Television. There I am in the picture, my best sheriff pose, gazing into the camera on Christmas morning. This was in Alaska; Ft. Richardson, to be exact.

The Ultimate Head Fake


I’m not talking about basketball. I’m talking about a concept known as “deepfakes”. The term comes from combining the concept of “deep learning” with the word “fakes”. It’s one of the latest emerging technologies to burst onto the scene, and you should be worried about it.

Bean and Pasta Salad

There are a jillion bean and pasta salads out there. They are all a little different and good, too. This one is a bit different from the rest. The celery is partially cooked. The onion is marinated in white vinegar. All of that does make a difference. Try it and see what you think. You can use any combination of canned beans, even add green beans, if you like. Mix it up.

David McCollough Celebrates 30 Years

David McCollough, State Farm Agent

In June 2019, David McCollough celebrated thirty years in the insurance industry. David is a State Farm Agent in Maynardville, Tennessee. He grew up in South Alabama with hardworking parents who taught him the importance of working to achieve your goals. David graduated from Troy University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree. He has three children who live close by in beautiful East Tennessee; Jake, Abby, and John David.

George Jones Tribute Concert

This Saturday, June 15, clear your calendar and take a beautiful drive into Sharps Chapel for an evening of music and festivities at the George Jones Tribute Concert. The fun filled, family event will be held at the Sharps Chapel Community Park from 6:00 – 9:00pm with festival seating, so don’t forget to bring your lawn chair!

One of My Stunts

It seemed like any other Sunday afternoon. That was until Sara and I hopped out of the car.

Down the back driveway, my stepfather Dick came barreling toward us in his truck. He and my mom lived behind us on top of the hill. I realized he had been watching and waiting for us to arrive back home from chirper choir. That told me something had happened.

The first thing I noticed was that my mom wasn’t with him. Fear and uncertainty slowly crept up my spine. Had something happened her? And if so, why wasn’t Dick with her?


Wine and Wreaths

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00

Thursdays just got so much better!
Join us at The Winery every Thursday for
amazing drink specials and exciting activities.

In June, join us for a fun Wine and Wreaths event.
During this class, get ready for 4th of July by crafting a wreath while enjoying a glass of wine. Various ribbons are available so you can make the wreath your own. The class is only
$25 and includes all the materials needed as well as the glass of wine. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling The Winery at (865)745-2902.

Union County Board Of Education

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.



Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 07:30
Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

CEASE inc., Paint and Pour

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 18:30

CEASE, inc. will be hosting a Paint and Pour event at Seven Springs Winery at 6:00 PM on June 28th. Participants will take a painting class while sipping on wine. The cost of the ticket includes the painting class, all supplies needed for the class, and the first glass of wine. Tickets are on sale for $45.00. Tickets are limited, so get yours today! We're going to have a great time and this event benefits a great cause, providing assistance to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault! Call 865-745-3002, connect with CEASE inc.


Jenny Lou Holt Byrd

Jenny Lou Holt Byrd, age 88, of Maynardville, TN passed away on Monday, June 17, 2019. She was a longtime member of Clear Springs Baptist Church. Jenny enjoyed scrapbooking, crocheting, and gardening. She is retired from K-Mart after 27 years. She is preceded in death by husband of 68 years, Charles Byrd; mother Grace Fortner Holt Chamberlain and father Clifford Holt.

Charles Edward Green

Charles Green – He often said, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” And on June 15, 2019, Charles Edward Green, loving husband and father of two children, went to Heaven at the age of 70 in Maynardville. Charlie was born on January 15, 1949 in Kingsport, Tennessee to Roy and Willnette Green. In 1970 his son, Johnathon Edward was born. He married Kimberly (Kim) Jones 31 years ago and raised one son together, Samuel Roy. Charlie had many passions including motorcycles, 60’s & 70’s R&B music and hamburgers.

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers-age 74 of Sharps Chapel passed away Saturday, June 15, 2019 at Claiborne Medical Center. She was preceded in death by husband, Marsillus Isaac (Skeeter) Rogers.

Survivors: son, Joe Rogers, daughter, Angela Buege; granddaughter, Kelly Buege; instant granddaughter, Jennifer Housewright.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending at this time. Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville in charge.

David Wayne Tolliver

David Wayne Tolliver-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went to be with the Lord, Friday afternoon, June 14, 2019 at his home with his wife and family at his side. He was a member and Deacon of Leatherwood Baptist Church. Retired employee of Union County Highway Department and also had a love of farming, hunting and fishing. Preceded in death by parents, Andrew and Lillie Tolliver; parents-in-law, Bob and Ethel Buchanan; sister-in-law, Shirley Tolliver.

Tyler Wayne Atkins

Tyler Wayne Atkins-age 24 of Luttrell passed away Friday, June 14, 2019. He was preceded in death by mother, Misty Dawn (Nankervis) Atkins; brother, Matthew Atkins; grandfather, Jerry Nankervis; special grandmother, Bonnie DeVault.

Survivors: father, Chris Atkins; sister, Gracie Nankervis; grandparents, Gary and Phyllis Atkins; grandmother, Connie Condry; papaw, Jimmy DeVault; uncles, Jimmy (Julie) DeVault, Jr., Shawn and Shea Condry, Jerry and Cory Nankervis. Several cousins and other family members.

Audy B. Keck

Audy B. Keck-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went home to be with the Lord after a long battle with cancer Thursday evening, June 13, 2019 at his home. Audy had a testimony of faith in the Lord, Jesus and was of the Baptist belief. He was a member of the Union County Rescue Squad. Preceded in death by parents, Warmer and Linda Keck; brothers, W. T., Joe, Jimmy and Harley Keck; sister-in-law, Nancy Keck; brothers-in-law, J. B. Stansberry and Jim Hayes.

Dorothy "Dot" Knott

Dorothy “Dot” Knott began her new journey June 13, 2019 with family at her side; Leaving behind daughters, Virginia Smothers (Mark), Deborah Hill, Lisa Gerard (Jeremy), step-daughter Donna Fisher, treasured grandkids and great-grandkids, as well as, her beloved Rocky Hill Baptist Church family and many other special friends. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Monday, June 17, 2019, at Rocky Hill Baptist Church with service to follow at 7:00pm, Dr. Scott Whaley officiating. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at Rocky Hill Cemetery for an 11:00am interment.

Erwin Lynn Berry

Erwin Lynn Berry – age 64 of Sharps Chapel, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, June 9, 2019. He was a member and deacon of Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church. Erwin was an employee of Pilot Corporation for 38 years.

Eva Jean Lawson

Eva Jean Lawson – 59, born August 18, 1959 to Cecil and Thelma “Judy” Branham in Welch, West Virginia, passed away June 11, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer. She married the love of her life, Roy E. Lawson in Monroe, Michigan on June 22, 1984. She was a nuclear security officer at Fermi II plant for 23 years and also a security officer at Monroe High School for 8 years.

Paul L. Llewellyn Obituary

Paul L. Llewellyn, age 74, of Knoxville, passed away on June 9, 2019.
Paul will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband. He was a Harley Davidson enthusiast and member of the Blue Hawks. He also loved animals, especially his dog Lucy.
Preceded in death by mother and father Addie and Tate Llewellyn; 3 sisters and 4 brothers.

The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.