Fall has finally arrived in the Crestview area. Thankfully the temperatures have cooled off, the grass has been mowed one last time before spring, and all of the beautiful fall flowers are in bloom. I love mums and it is nice to have them blooming in so many colors.

Unfortunately, the swindlers are back. I received a couple of calls last week stating that my Microsoft license had expired and I must call immediately and renew it or my computer would quit working.

I know that Microsoft licenses last as long as the computer, so I just erased the message.

It is frustrating that evil people trap unknowing seniors and others into paying hundreds of dollars for a fake license, and in the process will likely destroy everything of value on the computer.

Don't ever give anyone that calls you access to your computer. If your computer needs service, take it to a reputable computer repair store. The Microsoft website states: "Microsoft never makes unasked for support or security phone calls."

With the storms and fires we have had around the country, the IRS sent out a warning about fake charities that are designed to steal one's hard-earned money.

Jim, my husband, and I, give through our church, or Samaritan's Purse. If a charity sounds great, check them at charitynavigator.org for legitimacy. The site provides information on how the money is used and how much is spent on salaries and fundraising efforts.

The old scam about owing taxes is also back. Apparently these scammers con people out of so much money they never go away completely.

According to the IRS, "The IRS does not call and leave prerecorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. In this tactic, the victim is told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest." (https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15f165479c8dd1ab)

Also, the IRS will never ask for payment to be made with gift cards of any type. Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 if you suspect you may owe back taxes.

The IRS mails letters if taxes are owed — they do not call and demand payment. Please don't fall for this scam.

Stay safe!

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.