Unsuspecting scammer gets taken for $25,000

Dear Annie: I recently lost my job of 13 years. While checking out various employment listings, I came across a work-at-home position. I did a quick Google search and found that the company had several locations throughout the eastern portion of the country, all with what seemed to be actual addresses and phone numbers, so I thought the job would be OK to accept.

As it turned out, the whole thing was nothing but a huge scam, and I got sucked right into it. The job involved cashing money orders from the company’s customers and then wiring it to Canada. As a result of all the money orders having been counterfeit, I am on the hook to my bank for nearly $25,000.

I surfed the Internet looking for some sort of victim’s assistance and have been unable to find what I need. I turned the whole matter over to the FBI, and when I called them back a few days later, I was told it would be at least a month before an agent assigned to the case would contact me. Can you please help me locate some sort of assistance program to help me pay back all that money to the bank? Stepped in It in California

Dear California: Although you were on the wrong end of this scam, you are also a victim. Consider contacting the National Center for Victims of Crime (ncvc.org) at (800) FYI-CALL ([800] 394-2255), as well as a bankruptcy lawyer who might help you find a way out of this mess. It also wouldn’t hurt to talk to someone at your bank about whether a type of deferred payment can be worked out while you wait for the FBI to get around to your case. Your situation should serve as a warning to others. When something seems too good to be true, it generally is.

Dear Annie: Because of a severe, chronic back condition, my husband has been on prescription Oxycodone for about a year. He’s a loving husband and father, and has an excellent job.

I am concerned that he may be addicted. He says he’s dependent, but not addicted. Is there a difference? He says that dependence is a legitimate medical condition that requires you to take the medication as prescribed. An addiction is medication purchased on the street and taken for the “high.”

Admittedly, the medication has helped him immensely. He’s tried other treatments, including surgery, but only the pills seem to help. He allows me to monitor his dosage and takes no more than what is prescribed. But this medication has such a stigma associated with it. Is he a functional addict, or is my concern misplaced? His Wife

Dear Wife: An addiction is when the psychological need, no matter how the drug is obtained, is greater than the medical requirement for it. Your husband is legitimately dependent on this medication for pain relief, and he is taking it appropriately. He may develop a tolerance for the dosage, but as long as it doesn’t interfere with his job or his family life, and he follows his doctor’s orders, we wouldn’t be overly concerned.

Dear Annie: Please assure “Heartbroken in N.C.” that there is life after dealing with hateful, ungrateful kids and their spouses. For years I endured the verbal tirades of a daughter who blamed me for everything. After one particularly nasty tirade, I finally had the courage to walk away.

It has been several years since we spoke, and I am fine. You reach a point where it is a matter of survival. You realize that no one has the right to unload their hate on you. “Heartbroken” should keep busy by getting a job, or she might consider becoming a foster parent. There are many unwanted children who would value a home. Hateful people cause so much grief that it often comes full circle. They are the losers, not you. Learned the Hard Way

• E-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to: Annie’s Mailbox‚Ñ¢, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

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