Over the past few months I have been covering the various scams that criminals use to steal money from their victims. But now, once again I was targeted. What I found so fascinating, (and upsetting), is that for starters I caught on very quickly to what was happening. But the scammer was so good that I almost thought I had actually done something wrong and needed to correct it with money.
Back in December I was called for jury duty. However, for medical reasons I had it postponed until February which I then went and was subsequently excused. Then about a month ago I got a call from someone claiming to be from the county attorney’s office stating that their records show I was called for jury duty but never responded. Further, if I did not pay the standard fine of $2,000 I would be arrested for a committing a felony. This time the payment was not to be made by untraceable gift cards which scammers usually do but by bitcoins which are just as impossible to trace. What initially got my heart racing was that my caller ID on my cell phone did show that the call was coming from the county attorney’s office. That and, as I said earlier, the caller was so good at trying to convince me that they were an officer of the court I didn’t just hang up like all the experts advise but stayed on the line attempting to convince them that I did in fact serve jury duty.
I finally told the caller that I wasn’t going to pay and that they would have to come and arrest me. At which point the caller made more threats, swore at me and hung up.
But how did they know I had jury duty in the first place? And what about the caller id showing that the call was from the county attorneys office? At this point I can only speculate. It is common knowledge that large business and government data bases have been hacked, or maybe the call did in fact come from the county attorney’s office and it was an inside job.
But here are some of the things that tipped me off. First of all, it was not the county attorney office that initially called me for jury duty but the state superior court. Second, the courts NEVER call on the phone for these matters but communicate them by mail. Third, they NEVER demand payment of fines by gift cards or bitcoins. Lastly, I googled the number that came through my phone and it was a number known to be used by scammers, not the county attorney’s office which is what my phone showed.
But reports are coming in that this is the level of sophistication that scammers are using to dupe their victims. They are also counting on catching their victims off guard when targeting them. Most people have their mind on other things when a suspicious call comes through to them, as is what happened to me.
Also, again don’t engage the caller as I did. The experts state emphatically to simply hang up. They also state that if they call you repeatedly, as they have been doing with me, tell them you are reporting them to the FBI. But if you do this you are strongly advised to not say it unless you fully intend to follow through and report them.
Again, what is so upsetting to me personally is that I was thrown off guard by a scam that has been out there for some time and one that I have previously reported on in this column. And what you need to keep in mind is that scammers are always coming up with new methods to defraud you. Next month I will cover more scams and ways to protect yourself from these lowlifes.
If you have any questions about this article or if I can be of assistance to you with your investment portfolio please feel free to call me at 480-296-9556.
- Rudy Eidenbock
- Financial Advisor, RJFS
- Office: 480-307-9909
- 4111 E. Valley Auto Dr. #104
- Mesa, Arizona 85206
Purity Wealth Advisors is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services Inc. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc.
Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members. The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Rudy Eidenbock and not necessarily those of Raymond James.