The following episode happened to me a few years ago before Larry and I retired. He and my youngest son were both in Florida at the time. I rerun the story because I found out this weekend that the same scam is running rampant again. A friend fell for it just last week. Read, beware, and spread the news before any more of our neighbors fall victim as I did.
This time the scam artists are in Texas jails instead of Florida’s, but the scam resurfaces often. The inmates who call know exactly how to scare their victims into calling the number they provide. It was only coincidence that they called me, a mother who’d lost one son in a car accident and nearly lost a second one.
Home alone, I donned my oversized blue chenille robe, my bedroom shoes, and settled into the recliner with the latest Jodi Picoult book. I planned to read until Larry called at 10:00. Then it would be lights out for me because the six o’clock alarm rang early, whether I was ready or not. Finding the post-it note I’d used to mark my place, I was soon grooming that horse right along with the character in the book. When the phone rang, I assumed it was Larry.
“Hello,” I said into the receiver.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry to tell you there’s been a bad accident and one of your family members was involved. I was asked to call you with this number. If you call it, the nurse will give you more information,” the masculine voice on the phone said. “Do you have a pencil?”
My heart leapt into my throat as I scrambled for a pencil. It seems I can never find one when I most need it.
“Go ahead,” I said, scribbling numbers as he read them out.
At this point, fear completely controlled me. I knew that one of my sons and my husband were in Florida from whence came the call, so I didn’t spend much time thinking. I just dialed. I tried several times and got no answer, but I was still scared. I’d tried to call Larry and Josh to no avail, so my panic level rose with every failed phone call.
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