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Averting a scam

Thumbs Up: The staff at the Alexandria Target store gets a big thumbs up. If not for their intervention, an 85-year-old Alexandria man would have been swindled out of $2,000, according to the man's son. His father received a call from someone claiming to be his grandson. The "grandson" said he was in jail and needed $2,000 in gift cards to bail him out. The "grandson" somehow obtained convincing details, including the fact that certain family members had visited him in Fargo the previous day, which was only information the real grandson would have known. Convinced, the 85-year-old headed to Target with a check already filled out for $2,000. "But I thank the Lord for a great team at Target, especially Matt who stepped in and went up and beyond convincing my father that this was a scam," the son said. "He even called the jail and had my dad talk to the jail staff and prove to him that this was a fraud." The son thanked Target for caring about its customers and the people in the community. This is not an isolated incident. The so-called grandparent scheme is so widespread it prompted a warning from the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota last week. "The grandparent scam plays on emotion," said Susan Adams Loyd, the bureau's president. "Grandparents, especially, are protective of their grandchildren and will do nearly anything to ensure their well-being. Scammers are all too aware of that." The bureau offers these tips: 1. Be in the know. If you're aware a grandchild or grandchildren will be traveling for spring break, ask questions. Find out where they're going and how long they'll be gone. 2. Don't take the bait. If you pick up the phone and the caller says, "Grandpa/Grandma, it's me," don't give them any information. If you venture a guess ("Amanda?"), the caller will take that information and run with it. 3. Verify everything. In the information age, scammers have access to a lot of information. Be aware they might know the names of your grandchildren. 4. Don't panic. Because this scam plays on emotion, callers may be in tears or their voice might break, as though they're under a great deal of stress. 5. Know the red flags. Callers requesting that you not contact anyone else about their supposed plight — such as parents or other family members — is a sign you're likely talking to a scammer.

Happy with road

Thumbs Up: A group of citizens in Holmes City and the surrounding area sent a note to express their appreciation to the Douglas County engineer, Douglas County commissioners, the contractor, surveyors and everyone else involved in the construction of County Road 4W through Holmes City. One resident noted, "The retaining walls, curb and gutter, storm drainage and shaping the hazardous corner was a great improvement to make it a safer road for all."

Township pride

Thumbs Up: Here's a thumbs up for all those who participated in township elections Tuesday. In its newsletter, the Alexandria Golden Kiwanis provided information about townships that's worth sharing: Douglas County is divided into 20 townships, five across from west to east and four down, north to south. Each township is about six miles square, each totaling an area of 36 square miles. Each township is divided into 36 sections with each section containing 640 acres of land. Here's a brain buster for you: The following is a list of historical names of townships: Adkinsville, Chippewa, Maple Lake, Maple Town, Red Rock, Riverdale and Roslyn. What are they called today? The answers, in order, are Moe, Brandon, Hudson, also Hudson, Urness, Belle River and Hudson, yet again.