Most recent $9000 scam using The US Government ARRA as bate (June 20, 2017).
We, the citizens of The United States of America, have a responsibility to keep our nation safe. This responsibility can call upon us unexpectedly and demand various levels of commitment.
It just so happens, that I did get this unexpected call. The responsibility is minimal on my side, but an important one.
The call I received came from “No Caller ID” and certainly peeked my interest. I picked up. A kind gentleman informed me that the call is from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and that I, along with 1699 other exemplary, law-abiding citizens, were chosen to receive $9000 from The Government of The United States.
I was worried…
A kind gentlemen knew my First and Last name, my cellphone number, and the city I live in.
I was foolishly enthusiastic and kept going…
My First and Last name along with my cell phone number are not difficult to attain. He didn’t have any other information about me. He didn’t have any of my bank account numbers, social security number, my date of birth, and for that matter my full address. At least that is what I thought at the time.
Kind gentlemen was prepared…
I brought to his attention that there are many scams out there and asked him to prove to me that he is not one of them. His response was calm: “I am not asking you for any important pieces of information, account numbers, or anything of that sort. In fact, you can choose to receive your $9000 grant in cash from Western Union. Would you like that?”
I was foolishly enthusiastic again, and kept going…
“Hell yes!” – I replied. He informed me of two very important things that I had to write down, and asked me to promise to complete the tasks he will assign to me in timely manner (immediately). The first thing I wrote down was the direct number of the CPA (number: 845-521-7903) that will authorize the release of my $9000 grant. When I call that CPA I must provide a five-digit unique code (code: JR197). This is to verify my identity and authenticity of the request.
CHAPTER 2 (CONVERSATION RECORDED)
I was not worried, but determined to investigate…
At this point I knew it was a scam as after a 5-minute search online I was able to find similar schemes. I decided to call and record my conversation with the “CPA” (please listen to the entire conversation by following the link to youtube, where I posted it).
I dialed 845-521-7903 as per instruction and immediately got David Lee on the phone. His intro statement: “Federal Reserve Bank of New York.”
After providing my unique code JR197, David Lee took few seconds to pretend to pull up my information. I mean this is a pretty elaborate scheme, they really paid attention to details.
Shortly after I was given my next steps:
Go to my closest CVS, Seven11, Target, or any other convenience store close by.
Purchase a gift card for $250. I was specifically directed to purchase iTunes gift card.
I was to call back from the parking lot of the convenience store after the purchase (this is getting very shady in my opinion, but for many people $9000 can still be blinding).
I didn’t pursue this any further, as I know what would happen. I would buy a card, save the receipt, call David Lee back. He would ask for the gift card number and receipt to apparently give this to Western Union, so they would know to give me the money. This is total BS. As soon as I got the info for the card, they got my $250.
In conclusion, I ask that you are careful with your personal information and taking directions from strangers without conducting due diligence. Money doesn’t grow on trees – so don’t plant a money tree for scammers.
I am filing a complaint with consumer.ftc.gov – hopefully this article will be shared and hopefully We can prevent this from spreading.