Jailhouse call: Scam preys on father’s love

Jailhouse call: Scam preys on father’s love

A man received a phone call recently from someone claiming to be his daughter. The woman said she was in a Las Vegas jail and needed his help to get out. Her voice sounded genuine to the concerned father, and he wanted to do what he could to help her in her time of need. What he didn’t know was that this was an elaborate ploy by scammers to steal his hard-earned cash. Here’s what happened next and how you can avoid becoming a victim. Jailhouse call: Scam preys on father’s love

Desperate to get out of jail, the daughter told her father that her lawyer was going to call him with more details on what to do next. Shortly after that, the lawyer called and told the loving dad that he needed $15,000 to get his daughter out of jail and clear her driving record. Rather than wire cash, the lawyer asked the father to purchase gift cards from a particular retailer.

The worried father prepared to do as instructed, but at the last minute, decided to call his daughter’s office see if she’d answer. When she answered the phone, the father realized he was the target of an elaborate two-person scam.

Two hours later, the lawyer called asking for the gift card information. The father told the lawyer that he spoke with his daughter at work and knew the call was a scam. Without another word, the scammer hung up the phone and never called back.

In this scam, the caller had basic information about the target. The scammer knew the target’s name, the name of his daughter, and the target’s phone number. Using this information, the scammer manufactured a scenario that would instill enough fear and concern in the target to force him to take immediate action.

Emotion is a powerful motivator, often causing some to act quickly without carefully evaluating a situation. In the scenario above, the father paused to assess the predicament before giving the lawyer $15,000. That assessment saved the dad a considerable sum.

If you find yourself the subject of a similar phone call, take the time to carefully evaluate the legitimacy of the situation. At the very least, call the person who needs help using contact information you already have. Don’t use alternative contact information provided by the caller. It could be false.

You might ask how the caller had information about the father to begin the scam. That’s a good question, and the answer is – the availability of such information is more abundant than ever.

A technically-minded scammer can dig up basic information on potential targets by running a search online. There are many websites that aggregate such information for a variety of purposes. Skilled scammers can harness the power of this modern, easily accessible data to arm themselves with valuable ammunition in their scams. It takes a criminal more time to obtain such information and implement these scams, but the effectiveness of targeted attacks results in higher returns because they’re more personal in nature.

Always take the time you need to carefully evaluate a caller’s story before acting. It could save you a large amount of cash and considerable anguish. Jailhouse call: Scam preys on father’s love

Jailhouse call: Scam preys on father’s love

about the author


Rod Spurgeon is a professional writer, editor, and photographer. He writes a weekly column at ownyourdefense.net, is a content contributor at senior.com, and is the author of several science fiction novels and novellas.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Global Business from Arizona State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix, and also received an Honorable Mention from PR News Daily’s 2015 Nonprofit PR Awards.
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