It is a quiet Sunday morning and my phone suddenly rings. I pick it up, a man with a very heavy Southern accent asks for me and if I got a summons. I tell him no and he wants to know if I reside at my old address. An address I haven’t lived at in almost 3 years. When I tell him I didn’t, he tells me that there is a warrant out for my arrest because I have not shown up for Jury Duty.
A co-worker of mine just completed Jury Duty, so I am thinking maybe that he is telling me the truth. At this point, I am nervous. Did Burbank send the request to my old address and did the new people not return it to sender? In the back of my mind I am thinking, but I have registered to vote at my new address and have voted several times since I have moved. Still, I stay on the phone with this man. A man who didn’t know how to pronounce the street that I used to live on. People in Burbank know how to say it, but for some reason that didn’t faze me.
He tells me to grab a pen and paper so I can write some information down. In this day and age, I don’t have either handy. I find one, but the pen doesn’t write. I tell him let me go to my computer to write down what he needs me to write down. He gives me some letters and numbers, and I didn’t realize he was not giving me the military names for letters like Tango for T. Again your mind isn’t thinking logically at that point.
As I write down these letters and numbers, he explains to me that I owe two dollar amounts. $450 for the first charge and $500 for the second. Then he tells me that they don’t accept cash or checks and I would need to get money from Rite-Aid. I know the sirens should’ve gone off by now, but I am afraid I am about to add my name to Arrest Reports I update on this site.
He tells me that the money will be reimbursed to me tomorrow, but I still have to pay him today. In fact I didn’t even get suspicious when he started hitting on me and tell me he likes my voice. I am thinking he is trying to calm me down. Nope.
Anyways, he now tells me that he needs my cell phone number so he can remain in contact with me as I go to drop off the money. I give it to him. He says to me that he will call me back on it and I need to get the money ASAP. I tell him I need to take a shower and please to give me 20 minutes. He tells me that he can’t. I negotiate him down to 10 minutes and he says he needs to remain on the phone with me while I shower. I know, that is very creepy. I also realize there is not something right about that.
As I wait for him to call me back, I go to my iPad and Google if this is a scam. IT IS.
I tell him that the battery on my cell phone is dying and hang up on him. He keeps trying to call me. My line is busy because I am calling Burbank Police Department to verify it is scam. The nice calming lady on the other end of the phone line tells me that it is. If they ask for money, it is a scam.
I have worked in local and network news and you would think I would know better, but I did not. Luckily, I figured out before it was too late.
It is very scary to get that call, and you don’t know what you would do in that situation. Especially if you don’t know about. That is the position I was in, and I don’t want any of you to go through that. That is why I am letting you all know about it, so the same thing doesn’t happen to you. Be safe because these people are good, and we just have to be better than them.