My phone rang the other afternoon and a number, identified as Private Caller, asked if Tammy was there. Well, Tammy wasn’t — never has been; I don’t know any Tammy, which I explained to the caller.
He was insistent, saying my number was, “on my screen and according to my records this was her number.” I told him he was a scammer and to get lost. Then he turned nasty saying he was with some bogus-sounding Federal Agency and that he worked for a tough judge, at which point I suggested that he and the judge go and engage in a lewd activity together.
Boy, that got him mad. He called right back and left an involved message about how tough the prosecutor in Jacksonville was and if I was smart I’d call back immediately. After that he called my phone repeatedly until I disconnected the cable to get some quiet.
A friend of mine in Louisiana tells me he’s had the same phone call, same dumb story; he responded the same way and told the caller you don’t mess with a hacked off Cajun if you have any sense.
Then the New York Times featured this scam, that particularly preys upon older people. I had considered how this would turn into a method of extracting money from me and had I been more patient, I might have played along to find out. Turns out it’s usually a money order on grounds a distant cousin or grand-nephew is in trouble, but it can all get sorted out by applying a few thousand to a blind PO Box which then forwards the money. By using forwarding phones, the call can appear to be from Jacksonville but is in fact just as likely to come from the Caribbean, or even India. Some years ago I tracked an extortion scam to Washington State with the help of police there and, sure enough, the phone line disappeared down a rabbit-hole. There was no office in Washington State — not a bad trick for an agency that claimed to be in Maryland and didn’t exist in Maryland.
I bring this up because these pests are back and because there will be some folks, likely older, who will be scammed for several thousands in untraceable money-grams. So, if you get a call, understand that any legitimate agency will not notify you by phone this way, they will clearly identify themselves with a phone number, badge number and name and they will follow up in writing and you can easily check to see if there is such an agency. There is no United States Location Agency, certainly not in a law-enforcement capacity.
If you have any doubt at all, before you send money or anything else, call the Sheriff’s Office. They know these twerps. There’s not much they can do, thanks to multiple jurisdictions and international law. But you can ignore them; just put down the phone and go out for a cup of coffee or visit a neighbor. Don’t be one of the 26 million folks who fell for it last year.
Thanks for the heads up. It is indeed best to check with local authorities to verify if the call is legit or not. I've read several cases posted at Callercenter and they remind us to be vigilant at all times.