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.”
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.