This is an important call regarding your current credit card account ...

Listen carefully: If you are a senior citizen ...

Don’t hang up! The FBI reports that every day break-ins in your community ...

We have great news! You have won second place in the Publishers Clearing House....

And on and on and on.

Whatever happened to your do-not-call list?

The first three examples given above, from those dinner-hour calls that have you jumping up and down, are relatively harmless, but no less irritating than the political ones you get just before elections. And if you listen to the commercial ones to the bitter end, you usually are given the option to turn them off permanently.

But the ones promising you untold riches (and these typically target the elderly) are potentially dangerous.

A word of advice: The website for Publishers Clearing House says that winners of its drawings are notified by certified mail or by the arrival at your front door of the PCH Prize Patrol, not by a telephone call saying you’ve won the world.

Always view such calls with suspicion. Never give out personal information (e.g., Social Security and bank account numbers).

These scam artists are clever and are forever thinking up new ways to get into your house and your pocketbook.

Remember: If the calls saying you’ve won sound too good to be true, they almost always are.