Woman gathers information to report phone scammers

Published 12:36 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2017

By Larry Holt

The Orange Leader

One afternoon a few days ago, my 87 year old mother answers her telephone and is quickly engaged in friendly, rather urgent conversation with a sincere sounding man on the other end of the telephone that self-identifies as Mr. Don Webster of Consumer Financial Bureau.

Seems Mr. Webster is attempting to deliver approximately $757,000 dollars in contest award winnings to my mother.

“He sounded authentic. Like he really cared about what he was doing,” my mother said to me when describing the sincerity and protectiveness in the man’s voice.

Revisiting the matter today, my mother proudly recalled how she immediately knew she had a scammer on the other end of the line.

“I knew it when he said I had won a contest,” she said. “I don’t play contests, but I didn’t tell him that. I just let him keep talking.”

And as the man talked, my mother took notes of her phone conversation that inevitably involved another man self-identified as Mr. Bob Mitchell, a manager, to explain to my mother, in order to receive the $757,000 contest winning, my mother must “register” the amount (required by a nebulous provision in the “Patriot Act” says one of the scammers).

To register the winnings, my mother must transfer $3,700 dollars from my mother’s bank account into a “government account known as R. F. Financial Services Inc. 2700 Braselton, Suite 10, Hwy 343, Georgia.”

Over a two day span of time, my mother wrote their names, telephone numbers, what they were promising, what they were asking her to do for the promise of money, and in detail how she is supposed to transfer money to the scammers in order to receive money from the unidentified contest.

All the while she is writing, she is careful not to divulge her personal information or make commitments of any kind.

After she finished gathering her notes, my mother ultimately called the office of the Federal Trade Commission who was all too happy to receive the detailed information.

The day after the scammers had expected the money transfer one of them called my mother.

She politely answered the telephone as she always does. When the man asked why my mother hadn’t transferred money, my mother proudly told him instead of forwarding money she had instead called the FBI and FTC who were “none too happy” to receive the information.

The scammer called my mother all sorts of impolite names, but she doesn’t care.

“I told them it wasn’t right what they were doing,” my mother said. “He just yelled some more and then hung up.”

I asked my mother why she kept notes and followed up with the FBI and eventually the Federal Trade Commission.

She thoughtfully replied, “What they’re doing isn’t right and someone needs to know about it. Maybe somebody will be helped because of me taking notes and telling someone.”

Yes… It is important to be self-aware, protect your personal information, and know your local law enforcement and local office of the FBI, as well as other resources, are available if you have a concern or believe you are a victim of a scammer.