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by Abigail Van Buren

Scam Artists Take Advantage of Office Work Paper Chase

DEAR ABBY: Reading your column is the first order of business in most companies, so please pass this along. There is a scam going on that rips off businesses big and small:

A phone call comes in, usually from a woman who says, "Hi, this is Patty. What is the serial number on your office copier?" DO NOT GIVE OUT THIS INFORMATION. The scam is, the next thing you know a pallet load of copy paper is delivered. It's very low-grade stuff and very high-priced. The invoice will show the serial number.

Many of these invoices are paid due to the paperwork shuffle. The callers will say, "We're updating our records." If you ask for their telephone number for a callback, they hang up. A new twist is that they phone the Chamber of Commerce in the area for member listings and use that information to appear legit.

The person in the office, usually an inexperienced, low-level clerk, gives the information and gets in trouble.

Please pass this on to your readers. Thank you! –-SHIRLEY HOCKING, BUSINESS OWNER, ALAMEDA, CALIF.

DEAR SHIRLEY: Thank you for the warning. A word to the wise is sufficient.

DEAR ABBY: My youngest daughter was murdered 10 years ago. I carry a poem that I found in a newsletter published by the Kansas City Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children. When the situation arises, I show it to people. It speaks for itself, and has been a godsend for me.

Abby, do you think it would comfort others who have lost loved ones and feel alone? –- MARYANNE HUGHES, COLUMBUS, OHIO

DEAR MARYANNE: I offer my sympathy for the tragic loss of your daughter. Thank you for sending the poem. Printing it may help people to realize that it's not hurtful to talk about a loved one who died –- it's comforting. Read on:


by Barbara Taylor Hudson

Someone asked me about you today.

It's been so long since anyone has done that.

It felt so good to talk about you,

To share my memories of you,

To simply say your name out loud.

She asked me if I minded talking about

What happened to you ...

Or would it be too painful to speak of it.

I told her I think of it every day

And speaking about it helps me to release

The tormented thoughts whirling around in my head.

She said she never realized the pain

Would last this long ...

She apologized for not asking sooner.

I told her, "Thanks for asking."

I don't know if it was curiosity

Or concern that made her ask,

But told her, "Please do it again sometime ...


Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600