Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Has This Ever Happened To You? Important Message!

The caller ID displayed a cell phone number that I thought looked familiar.  So I answered the call.  The deep male voice asked to speak to Lynda G.  I acknowledged that yes, that was me.  I verified that the address he stated was indeed mine.
He then identified himself.  He was calling from the county sheriff’s office, he said.
Hundreds of thoughts went immediately into overdrive, racing around the tracks of my brain’s speedway.
 “ACCIDENT!”  “Someone had an ACCIDENT!”
Wait, what was he saying?
As my mind came screeching to a halt, I tried to focus on his words.
“Mrs. G, you were sent a summons to serve on a Grand Jury.”
“Since you did not appear, I am now informing you that I have a warrant here for your arrest.”
I immediately had a vision of myself being led out of my home in hand cuffs.
This can’t be happening.  Me?  Not to me.   No way.   I don’t even drive over the speed limit.
My emotions were all over the place.  I was frightened.
“I never received a notice,” I protested.
“Look,” he said.   “You are in trouble, here.”
“Lawyer, I want to speak to my lawyer.”
Well I didn’t actually say that. But, that was one of the first things I thought.   Hey, I watch Law and Order.  I know my rights.
This person, had managed to disarm me.  I felt vulnerable.
Ross happened to be in the room while I was on the phone.  When he saw the look on my face and noticed how pale I had become, he took the phone from me and started to question the guy.
The caller told Ross that if I did not comply with his instructions,  a police officer would come to our house and arrest me.
He told us that we needed to obtain a voucher which we would have to bring to the County sheriff’s office.  The voucher would cost $498.
Ross asked, “What if we just go down to the sheriff’s office?”
“She will be arrested on the spot,” he said.
The only way we could get this voucher was to meet him at a local retail store.
Of course by now we were beyond suspicious.
I got on my cell phone and called our local police department.
The detective I talked to asked me what phone number the guy was calling from.  She looked up the number and said it was a ghost number.
By that time, either Ross had asked one too many questions or the guy heard me say that I was going to call our local police department, because suddenly the line went dead.
When Ross called the number back, another person answered by saying “County sheriff’s office”.  As soon as Ross told this other person that he was contacting the police, the real police, that guy hung up the phone.
After that when we called the number there was no answer.
While  I am pretty certain that I would not have gone through with meeting this guy or giving him a credit card or money,  I have to admit he had me pretty rattled.
I am also pretty certain that these con men prey on older folks, probably particularly women because they know that they can easily be intimidated.
By the way, because I was so shaken up by this guy, I completely did not think about the obvious.
First,  the county that I was supposed to have had jury duty in was NOT the county in which I live.
Second, and this one was pointed out to me by the real detective that I spoke to, “Lynda,” he said,  “no policeman in any police department, would call the person they were going to arrest to announce that they were on the way.”
DUH!
I am sure that there were other signs that this was a bogus call.  But as soon as this guy told me that he was calling from the sheriff’s office I panicked.
I know that most of us have become savvy and are aware that we should be wary of such phone calls and internets scams.
This is one that I have not heard of before.
Please pass this along.

10 comments:

  1. This has been happening here in the San Diego area too; for both jury duty and also calling people telling them they have outstanding traffic tickets. The bogus people have gotten some money out of it too with people not realizing it was a scam and paying them off. The local news frequently does stories about the scam to remind people it is indeed a scam. But I agree, it would be scary to get the call. Glad you guys were able to figure out it didn't sound true and didn't go along with their "demands."

    betty

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    1. I was angry that this guy upset me so much. And also I felt afraid for those who might fall for this scam.

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  2. Thanks for the warning. I understand why you didn't go along with it. But I hope one day someone turns up to meet the scammers with the police following close behind.

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    1. You know we thought about that afterwards. We wondered what would have happened if we had agreed to meet this guy and had been accompanied by the real police.

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  3. I received a similar call recently, which I later leared through Google search of the phone number is an IRS scam. Oddly, he asked for someone whose name is associated with our address (loooong story), but has never lived at this address. I politely told him this and he demanded to know my name. To which I replied, "why would you need that information?". He became "authoratative" and identified himself as "agent somebody" and said very aggressively "AND YOU EXPECT ME TO BELIEVE THIS IS A NAME THAT HAS FOLLOWED YOU FOR 20 YEARS?" I said, " I do and I'm done!", and I hung up. Never heard anything further.

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    1. They think they are so clever these guys. But I guess the must get some people to go along with them. Otherwise I don’t think they would bother doing it.
      Sounds like you have a very interesting looong story to tell. :)

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  4. Creepy!

    "I don't even drive over the speed limit." That made me laugh.

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    1. Yep, I was so very creeped out by this. Creeped out and angry.

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  5. They're getting sneaky. I think when I was on jury duty I heard something about how they don't contact you or something. So, apparently, this has happened here, too.

    After the initial adrenaline rush, I'm glad you saw through the scam.

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    1. Me too, glad I/we didn’t fall for it.

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