Let me tell you a scary story. Yesterday my grandfather, living in Idaho, received a call from a police officer who identified himself with a name and badge number. The officer started asking questions about his granddaughter (me) living in Fort Worth, Texas. The officer then told a story of how I was involved in a wreck with two other cars. Fortunately I was unharmed. However, they found drugs and other items in my vehicle so I was being booked for possession. The officer stated I wanted to call my grandfather so he could bail out his sweet granddaughter since my father was out of the country and unable to be reached (which in reality was correct, my father was out of the country). The officer then proceeded to give instructions for sending the funds. While the officer was explaining things, there was even a young woman in the background with muffled crying and saying through the sobs “Please help me, grandpa”!
After giving the instructions, the officer explained that because of the drugs, there was a gag order on anyone involved in the case and that my grandfather could not speak with anyone regarding the situation. So my grandfather being distraught (yet savvy) wrote all the information down with as much detail as possible, and told the officer he would need to check with the bank before getting back with him. After hanging up (despite the supposed gag order), he called my husband immediately to see if there was any validity to the officer’s story.
Thankfully my husband was available and assured him it was not true. My husband, being employed in the finance industry, informed him it was a money scam and it would be best for my grandfather to call the non-emergency line to his local police department with all the details.
My grandparents were very relieved to hear this elaborate story was a farce! They could not believe how elaborate and detailed the story was or that their sweet granddaughter was involved in such a scandal!
The moral of the story is — be very careful with giving personal information over the phone especially when they are asking for money. If you do suspect fraud, write down as much of the information that they give you and file a report with your local police department and a possible fraud report to FTC —
“The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them.”