Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Peggy McCracken
Tuesday, October 17, 2000
Scams reach deeper
in business pockets
Senior citizens like myself are accustomed to junk mail and telephone calls
from scammers who would have us believe we won a million dollars, a mink
coat or a trip to Timbuktu. "Just send us $800 and we'll send your cash
(coat, ticket)," they cajole.
Businesses get scammed too, but in a little different way. Lately, I've
been deluged with calls from toner salesmen, business directory publishers
and would-be advertisers using stolen credit card numbers.
Business directory publishers have a slick method of "confirming your
mailing address," then sending a directory you didn't order, along with
a big bill. The last one had the gall to tell me that my predecessor placed
a two-year order last year, and that our "final bill" would be $276. NOT!!!
"Don't send it, I said. "We are not going to pay you!!"
If you've been in business long, you've gotten a call from a toner salesman
who is stuck with a load of cartridges that he will sell you at a bargain.
Those guys have changed their tactics and now lead you to believe they
represent the company who made your copier.
In my case, the voice on the phone (always a man) asks about our Xerox
copier by model number, inquiring how it is working and when the last service
call was made. Then he goes into this spiel about how the price of toner
has increased but he should have informed us last month. Because of the
delay in telling us about the increase, the caller graciously offers to
sell me two cartridges of toner at a discount.
The first such call sounded legitimate for a minute, but when he named
a price, I recognized it as far more than I had just paid for two new cartridges
purchased from Xerox. That made me suspicious, so I asked for a number
to call him back.
"I am calling on a WATs line," Mr. Scammer said, "But you can call the
800 number on your copier."
So I did just that and asked if Mr. Scammer worked for Xerox. No, he
did not, and nobody with the company was selling toner. Would I please
report Mr. Scammer to the Xerox legal department?
That I did, and was told that these scams are common. So when Mr. Scammer's
"supervisor" called to verify the order, I told her emphatically that I
did not place an order.
Would you believe, Mr. Scammer called again to ask if there was a problem.
"Yes, the problem is that you represented yourself as a Xerox employee,"
Since that time I have had numerous such calls. When I ask what company
they are with, they hang up.
Our local Xerox rep, Bruce Shores, told me that the company has spent
thousands of dollars shutting down these operations, only to have them
move down the street, take a new name and start up again.
That's what the advertising scammers do, apparently. They submit an
ad for "Easy Credit," "Debt Consolidation," "Quick Cash" or some such,
using a bogus business name and someone else's credit card. The credit
card number appears legitimate, and it isn't until several months later
that we receive a notice from the credit card company that the cardholder
has refused to pay.
I called one such company, but when I asked the man who answered with
a "hello" why they refused to pay, all I heard was a click. I learned later
that the card number belonged to a real person, and that dozens of such
ads had been charged to his card without his permission.
We stopped accepting credit cards for such ads, but then got stuck with
a check that Mr. Scammer stopped payment on. I intercepted the next ad
that came by FAX and checked it out myself. The FAX number listed on the
insertion order accessed an answering machine that did not recognize the
FAX beep. Than I called the business number listed and a man answered "hello."
Probably the same one I had called previously. When I told him who I was,
he said, "I am just getting a bad connection right now." I didn't wait
for the click.
"Do not accept any ads like this, even if they walk in with a pot of
gold," I told the staff in our next meeting. "If they will scam us, they
will scam the customer, too."
So if you see any "Easy Credit," "Debt Consolidation" or "Quick Cash"
ads in the Enterprise, please alert me that somebody was asleep at the
switch. Our customers and legitimate advertisers deserve better.
"When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their
downfall." Proverbs 29:16
EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise business manager
and webmaster. E-mail her at email@example.com.
Tax abatement a double-edged knife
Last week Reeves County and the Town of Pecos City both approved tax abatements
for a new motel being built to house Union Pacific Railroad employees.
The abatement has been pitched to the local hospital board as well.
The idea of a tax abatement for a new business is appealing. Pecos and
the surrounding area desperately need new industry and tax abatements are
one way to attract new businesses.
But tax abatements are a double-edged sword and often cut in unintended
First, abatements are not fair to existing businesses that pay taxes
Second, tax abatements shovel more of the tax burden on these same businesses,
many of which are on the edge of shutting down in a stagnant economy aggravated
by high taxes.
Third, tax abatements lead to bidding wars as desperate towns bend over
backward to attract new business. The only winner in these wars is the
business tallying up the bids.
Instead of abating taxes for a possible new business, how about lowering
taxes for everyone. Lowering taxes is a long-term commitment to growth
and economic prosperity. Such a commitment is better than the short-term
gamble represented by most tax abatements.
Big Oil Apology?
First, my son and I hiked in Guadalupe NP. (21 miles in 1 day!) We
need to get down to Big Bend.
This letter is harsh, but you will see the logic is very plain to see.
It deals with the accusations against the petroleum industry by our Vice
President. No one seems to be addressing these allegations. Maybe it bothers
me because I spent 30 years for USX (Marathon Oil's parent) companies and
my son is working in a desert for a subsidiary of EXXON. The letter speaks
to the question of integrity. Perhaps my perception of integrity is out
of favor in this new century. I would hope the news media would take responsibility
to correct this wrong and force the issue into national attention.
I hope you don't get to see the Texas ads on TV. We are being bombarded
with them in Ohio. It is disturbing that your state is being degraded by
these tasteless ads. But with the new "ethics" we should not question extreme
attacks like these.
Al Gore claims he does not engage in negative personal attacks and that
he has credibility. Does he just tell "inconsequential" fibs or are his
lies designed to advance his political ambitions? Let us look at a few
facts and decide.
During the past eight years American reliance on OPEC oil has increased
fifty percent. Natural gas and heating oil prices are skyrocketing.
Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson says, "We were caught napping" and,
"It' s obvious the federal government was not prepared." What is Al Gore's
response? Panic! For political expediency, Gore blames "Big Oil" for our
energy problems. This year the administration, led by Al Gore, has issued
repeated accusations of collusion, price gouging and mismanagement against
the oil industry. Then, in a stroke of political genius, Gore denounces
Bush and Cheney because they are "too close" to "Big Oil." By inference
he accuses them of participating in the horrendous misdeeds and mismanagement
of which he accuses "Big Oil".
Conversely, Gore flatly refuses to take responsibility for or even acknowledge
this administration's admitted neglect. Worse yet, he blames good citizens
like the employees of USX Corporation of Pittsburgh, PA (one of America's
"Big Oil" and steel companies) for the problems he himself helped to create.
When this administration approved the "Big Oil" mergers, Al Gore was
not saying, "I will fight for you!" He was silent. When "Big Oil" was struggling
with $13 per barrel oil, Gore showed no concern. This is not to say the
mergers were harmful. But this does clearly show the hypocrisy of Al Gore's
"Populist" attacks on "Big Oil".
When prices rebounded "Big Oil" had the difficult task of bringing closed
wells back into production. Trying to get new crews in place to expand
production is difficult and time consuming. Many employees, like my son,
are working twelve-hour shifts under far less than desirable conditions.
My son has no patience for the attacks by the Vice President of the United
States on his industry. Likewise, I am sure no one in the energy industry,
from the CEO to the refinery worker, appreciates hearing the Vice President
falsely attack their companies and their performance.
To blame the workers in the oil industry for one's own lack of foresight
is not what one should expect from a Presidential candidate. Furthermore,
to fraudulently attach Bush and Cheney to these attacks is Machiavellian
at its best. We must conclude that lying and defaming others to gain political
advantage are a matter of course for Al Gore. He knows a lie told at the
right time reaps more benefit than the possible damage from any minor fallout
that comes days later, if at all. This is how Al Gore wins a debate. This
is how Al Gore wins an election.
One cannot help but conclude that Al Gore does not tell just inconsequential
fibs. To advance his career he lies. If the lies make Bill Bradley, George
Bush, or some dedicated oil company employee look bad that is perfectly
permissible. Is this appropriate action for a Presidential candidate?
Dallas Judge only doing his job
I read the Tina Glen letter which came out on the 9th instant which
referred to an alleged "gentleman" who apparently forgot to make his child
support payments for his little one(s). I just found myself wondering what
the heck is going on over there in Pecos, Tejas? Do you people care more
about some deadbeat Dad than you do the kids who are ultimately being damaged
by his financial neglect?
I mean talk about misguided anger.
The man was placed on probation since August 1998, for not paying child
support. The court in effect cut him some slack and gave him some time
to make it back on track. (This is the proverbial slap on the wrist.)
Then over the course of 2 1/2 years, he manages to violate the terms
of his probation (i.e. pay child support), not once, but two more times.
(More of the proverbial slaps on the wrist.)
So now what's the court to do? Give him S&H green stamps for being
a good court customer?
Ask any attorney who's ever handled child support collection matters
and see if he has any sympathy for the deadbeat dad. Jus tot have Dad dragged
into court is a financial burden that most single parents (mom in this
case) can barely manage to undertake. Dad on the other hand just walks
away from his financial responsibilities and in most cases has the wherewithal
to hire legal cousel to defend him in these collection cases.
I agree that there are many cases in which parents, unfortunately, use
their children as pawns. One parent denying access to children to force
the other parent to pay child support. Or I've even seen one parent denying
child support payments to enforce visitation. Is this situation okay? No.
And as Ms. Glenn asks in her letter, should one parent be forced to abide
by a child support order and the other not. Nope. Of course not. We all
But each parent had the right to take their respective beef with the
That's what we have court's for. Seems as if the mother in this story
did just that. Father, having gone three rounds with the court before sentenced
for finally being sentenced for criminal non-support knew good and well
what was in store for him and if he cared at all about access rights, could
have filed his own action.
But there must be more to the story than is being presented by Ms. Glenn.
Unlike Reeves County in which their District Court deals with all legal
matters that come before it. Dallas County has a system of "specialized
courts". We have certain courts that deal with criminal matters, others
solely to cover the realm of family law matters, probate, juvenile and
If this matter ended up in the "Criminal District court well, that makes
me go ummmm?"
Finally, what is absolutely bewildering to me is that Ms. Glenn, who
obviously cares about the two families who are being affected by the court's
decision are going through, wants to blame the Dallas Judge for doing his/her
I mean, it's obvious to me, the father didn't give a damn.
DR. JOEL DAVID VERA
Reader enjoys brother's response
In reading the latest version of the Enterprise, I came across the
most eloquent comeback in years. Way to go Jess!! We were taught to be
loyal to our beliefs!
Just a future FYI...the other Miramontes' are involved in teaching,
medicine, engineering, social work, insurance and general improvement of
self. So if any of those areas are disgraced...you can be assured of future
Oh, I own both the Ford truck and the minivan....so I consider myself
an expert when I say that they each serve their own purpose. However, the
vehicle described in Jess' response might be better suited for some of
the limited views expressed by the editor of the Enterprise.
ANA MARIA MIRAMONTES_ROQUEMORE
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Peggy McCracken, Webmaster
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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