My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts
Day 149: Another Facebook Scam
On Sunday morning I received a text from Steve (not his real name) starting with a simple “Hey”
Wiping sleep from my eyes I texted a “Hi” back.
“How are you?”
“Good. How are you?”
“Very good and very excited.”
“I came into some money. $100,000.”
“You’re joking. Did you win that with the lotto?”
“No, through a grant program that is aimed at the unemployed, elderly, disabled, students, etc.”
“And you qualified?”
“Sure did. UPS delivered the money yesterday.”
“UPS delivered the money?”
“Yes. The online agent asked me if I wanted a cheque or cash and I said cash.”
“And UPS delivered that?”
“Yes. $100,000. I paid off my bills and took the rest to the bank.”
“That’s great. Congratulations.”
I found it a little strange that UPS delivers money but okay, if Steve said so, I wasn’t going to doubt him.
“You can get the same grant,” he went on. “I saw your name on the list. If you contact the online agent, you can get the grant too.”
It didn’t occur to me that this could be a scam. After all, this was Steve I was ‘talking’ to and why would he lie to me? The amount of money was also believable. Talk of millions of dollars would have raised a red flag, but $100,000 seemed reasonable.
“Contact the agent now,” Steve concluded. “His number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. Tell him that a friend saw your name on the list.”
“Okay, I will. Thanks.”
Moments later I fired off a text to the number provided and within minutes I received a text back.
“Your name is indeed on our list of grant receivers. Since we place high value on security, I will need your personal information so there can be no duplication of the grant.”
“Okay, I understand.”
“Are you ready to fill in the form now?”
I was mentally doing a dance of joy. $100,000 … could this be for real? Common sense told me this was too good to be true, but this message came from Steve and I trusted him. Moments later I received a set of questions from the online agent:
Date of Birth:
Copy of Driver License or other photo I.D.:
Hm, now I did see a red flag. I’m notoriously hesitant of sharing my personal information, especially where it comes to government issued documentation. Before doing that, I wanted to verify with Steve that this grant program was for real and he had indeed received $100,000.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get hold of Steve, so I tried his girlfriend next. Doreen (not her real name) told me Steve has stepped outside for a moment, but he would be back shortly. When I got to talk to Steve, he sounded a little flat, not at all like a man who had just received a sizeable amount of money.
“Hi Steve, congratulations on the money.”
“The hundred thousand dollars.”
“What hundred thousand dollars?”
“You didn’t receive hundred thousand dollars from the grant program?”
He immediately knew what I was referring to.
“It’s a scam. My Facebook account was hacked and several of my friends were contacted by the scammer.”
“Oh I see.”
"You didn't fall for it, did you?"
"I did, sort of, but I didn't give him any vital information."
"Do you really think that if I won $100,000 I would tell everyone about it?"
That made sense. Mentally I saw $100,000 go out the window. The scammer didn’t give up easily though. Throughout the day he send me messages such as
“When can you send me photo I.D.?”
“We have been waiting for you, we have a lot of people attending to.”
And then his last one … “Should we terminate your grant?”
This, I suppose, was to spur me into action. I took action of a different kind, I notified the authorities, if for nothing else than to have a case number in the event of identity theft. I kept Steve’s name out of the conversation. Not that my call was necessary. Mr. Scammer was known to them and an investigation was underway. Mr. Scammer’s days were numbered. They knew who and where he was and his scam would soon be terminated.
Well, at least I wasn't the only one who fell for his lies.