To the Editor:
The top to a small table in our living room is in bad need of sanding and refinishing, and has been for a couple of years. Unable to put it off any longer I took it to a work place, got out my palm sander and some sandpaper.
About two seconds into the project, I saw my wife walking over to me with a cordless house phone in her hand and a perplexed look on her face.
She said, “This call is for you — I think?” she mouthed the words. “I am not sure who is calling.”
I said hello and immediately recognized the voice of a dear friend, Dave C., with whom I worked closely for three years.
I said, “Judy, it is Dave C.” She looked even more perplexed.
Dave asked me how I was doing. We chatted briefly about current events. I asked Dave how he was doing, and he said he was in a bit of trouble.
Seems like he was in Florida with friends planning to go on a cruise vacation. He and his friends called an Uber service provider to take them from their hotel to the departure pier in Miami.
En route to the pier, the Uber driver was pulled over by the police for a minor traffic violation. The police officer searched the Uber vehicle and found two suitcases full of narcotics. The Uber driver said the suitcases belonged to his riders.
The police arrested everyone in the car, including my friend Dave C. They were all taken to a local police station and were charged with the sale of narcotics and placed under a $100,000 bond.
Dave C. asked to make a phone call and called me. He told me he needed $10,000 in order to be released on bond.
I started to ask him some questions about an attorney and bail-bond service.
His answer was just vague enough to raise my suspicions. He immediately switched to the victim’s role that I was his only hope, and if I could not send him the entire $10K, how much could I send him.
We went back a forth for a couple of minutes. All the while my suspicions were growing. My wife was standing nearby and mouthed, “This sounds like a scam!” I agreed, except for the fact that the voice was perfect in speech pattern, tone and inflection.
I realized from knowing my friend Dave C. very well that the circumstances being described by the caller are not something in which my friend would be involved.
The voice finally asked, “Are you going to help me or not?”
I hung up. I called my friend at his duty station in New Mexico. He was not available at the time. He called me back in 10 minutes and confirmed that he had not called me earlier and that I had probably avoided being scammed by a professional thief.
I told him the scammer’s voice was his voice on the phone and that is what fooled me.
My friend is going to report this incident to the federal police at his station. He said friends on Facebook say this is happening all over and people are falling for it because of the voice. I did!
My message is: If you get a call from a friend who claims to need help in the form of money, be very suspicious, even if it sounds exactly like him or her!
Check the source diligently before you send your money.
George Van Riper