Town Crier: Beware of business with social media scammers

MONTCLARION: August 23, 2018

A friend got free mulch the other day. Her sister scored a climbing vine and trellis. And a third person got ripped off. Such is the state of social media, where folks barter and trade — and sometimes scam. Sweet social networks like Nextdoor can be targets.

Reader Skip Fogarty is sharing what he calls “a cautionary tale” about a known fraudster who has been “trolling” his neighborhood Nextdoor site using aliases and fake accounts. “She gains access to people’s homes by posing as a nanny or, lately, a dog-sitter,” he says.Now here’s where I want to be clear. This isn’t meant to scare you or make you suspicious of every post you see. But sometimes we need a reminder — that not everyone has good intentions. The scammer referenced above was ‘hired’ by an unsuspecting neighbor. She “took little interest in the dog or kids,” says Fogarty, “but started to get very aggressive about getting a deposit for certain dates of work.” The neighbor literally had to pay the woman off to make her leave the house. Fogarty hopes this one case will be a reminder to beware of unsolicited recommendations on social networking sites.“Use real neighbors’ recommendations,” he says, “and check references carefully.”

In memoriam: Longtime music teacher Wanda Redman-Eklund was honored Aug. 15 with a song-filled celebration of her life. Known at Montclair Elementary School as “Miss Wanda”, reader Amy Omand says Redman-Eklund was an extraordinary educator.

“Not only did she teach the kids the words and melodies to perform, she also taught them the important history and culture behind the music.”

Omand says the families at Montclair Elementary were devastated when “Miss Wanda” died last month, after being diagnosed last fall with gall bladder cancer. Last week’s event was a recreation of her famed winter concerts, complete with Santa hats and reindeer antlers.

Around town: The Lakeshore district is getting a new lounge and supper club, inspired by the romantic era of midcentury American dinner parties.Oakland restaurauteurs Seth and Jenni Bregman started transforming Michel Bistro into Bardo Lounge & Supper Club this past spring, and the new look will feature a 1960s living room-inspired cocktail lounge with an intimate upstairs dining room. Watch for it at

Reaching out: It seems Berkeley is gaining traction as an international destination. The new Berkeley Visitors Guide is coming out in print next month in seven languages. Digital versions are already online in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean and French.


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