Neighbors: Beware of scams, according to a near victim

Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist. The Forum

Here’s a warning for you, neighbors: Beware of scams.

This summer The Forum carried a story out of Wahpeton, N.D., about an elderly woman who got a phone call from someone who said he was with the Publishers Clearing House. He told her she’d won $2.6 million in that company’s contest. All she had to do, he said, was send in money to cover the taxes and the prize money would be hers.

How much should she send in? $100,000.

Well, this woman sent the money. It was everything she had. And then she found out she’d been scammed. Now, she’s out the money and in financial trouble.

Well, Gloria Bergstrom, Twin Valley, Minn., writes Neighbors that she, too, received a call from someone claiming to be with the Publishers Clearing House “saying I had won $12 million,” she says, “and all I had to do was send them 1 percent for processing and handling before they delivered the $12 million.

“I just hung up on them, as l never entered their lottery in the first place.

“Somehow, I hope that lady (in Wahpeton) gets her money back.

“Tell your readers,” she writes Neighbors, “to watch out. If it is too good to be true, drop it.

“Besides, I think Publishers Clearing House surprises people (when they legitimately win its contest); they don’t call.”

But that’s not all.

Gloria also received a letter from Vayo Financial Inc., Los Angeles, saying she had won $250,000 in a consumer sweepstakes contest for people in Europe, Africa and the United States. She was given a name and phone number to call to claim her winnings.

Well, highly suspicious, Gloria didn’t call. But she’s wondering if anyone has any information on this company. She doesn’t want to be scammed, of course, but she also doesn’t want to lose out on $250,000.

Anybody out there who can help her?

Dakota Business College

Now, Neighbors digs into its files and pulls out correspondence that was sent in some time ago.

Several years ago, Eleonore “Ellie” Radtke, a native of Perham, Minn., and then of Fargo, wrote Neighbors about the Dakota Business College in Fargo following stories from people who had graduated from it. Today, Neighbors is catching up with what Ellie wrote.

The college certainly played a big part in her family’s lives: She and some of her siblings attended it, and they all went on to gain solid employment.

Her brother, Walter Nieman, worked for the State Department in Washington, D.C., for many years.

Her sister, Luella, became the secretary for a Ford Motor Co. executive.

Her brother, Alfred Nieman, worked for Allis-Chalmers in Fargo, then became a federal tax investigator for the FBI in St. Paul.

And Ellie? She stayed in Fargo, becoming the assistant treasurer for the Western Mutual Life Insurance Co. for seven years until she married George Radtke. Then in 1957 she became the accounting department manager for the Fargo Insurance Agency, and in 1977 was promoted to assistant manager. After 25 years with Fargo Insurance, she retired.

George died in May 2018. He and Ellie had been married for nearly 67 years.

“I am so thankful to God every day for a very interesting and full life,” she wrote.

O.G.’s daughter

This summer, Neighbors wrote about the Askland family that has had a chiropractic practice in Fargo for many years.

It told of Dr. O.G. Askland, who founded the practice in 1950.

That brought a note from Chuck Humphrey, formerly of Verona, N.D., and now of Pocatello, Idaho, who wrote, “Dr. Askland’s daughter Shanda was my colleague at North Dakota State University.

“Thanks for your column about them.”

You’re welcome, Chuck.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email