Dictionaries define the noun “alarm” as “A sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright; any sound, outcry, or information intended to warn of approaching danger.” 

“Alarm” as a verb is defined as “To warn of danger; rouse to vigilance and swift measures for safety.” 

The news media airs many warnings (alarms) that alert folks to schemes that try to illegally gain access to folks’ personal and/or financial matters. 

One warning was about phone calls that try to get the person called (responder) to say “yes” so that the caller (criminal) can record the “yes” and use that “yes” to gain access to the responder’s personal and/or financial matters. 

I received a phone call that allegedly needed verification of my listing in the white pages. 

An alarm went off in my head.  Thanks to the news media, I did not say “yes.”  Whether or not the call was legitimate did not matter.  “Better safe than sorry.”

Another alarm went off when I received a call (scam) from a person (criminal) threatening to have me imprisoned if I did not send an IRS payment to a certain address. 

Really? 

Thanks to the news media, I knew that the IRS does not telephone taxpayers about payments due.

My last example of being alarmed (forewarned) was when I received a phone call that was supposedly from my bank telling me that my debit card had been blocked and that I should push a certain key to unblock it. 

Really? 

I did not push the key.  I went to my bank and learned that the phone call, of course, was a scam. 

It is disappointing and frustrating that we live in a world that forces us to be alarmed, but we must take warnings about scams seriously. 

“Forewarned is forearmed.”