I won't recap that story but you can visit the post before this one if you didn't see it earlier. I remained appalled that after 20 years of social work experience and as much involvement with law enforcement that I would become a victim so easily. But, we all know I did. As soon as I had my ah-ha moment I knew I had to come up fighting.
My personality is that of a fighter. I never quit. I always fight for right. I tell others we do what's right even when it's hard to do. I guess I should have been preaching to the choir aka myself. So at the moment I realized I had been "hoodwinked" I knew it was not time to quit.
I went in to overdrive. I won't bore you with the details but I will say with the power and spunk of the Tasmanian Devil I started trying to protect myself.
I found out this morning that I had been able to get back $999 of the $1,500 I was scammed out of. I reported the case to law enforcement to attempt to find the scammers and to attempt to get the rest of my money back. That is their job and I will let them do it.
I found some satisfaction that I had out scammed the scammer and retrieved some of the money. I know I still lost some but I am getting my money's worth out of it. I have had over 5,000 hits on my blog and spoke about it on the morning drive yesterday with Chris Beckham to reach hundreds or thousands more.
I don't need (or want) the attention but I did need to make sure other people do not fall prey to this. I needed people to understand it is so much more than a call asking for personal information but a ploy to get in your head and cause you to do something you would never dream of. Remember my trust in law enforcement was used as a way to get me to "drive to the sheriffs department" to write a statement. Only after my "departure" did the manipulation begin.
I have spoken to dozens of people who called me after this to tell me they were in the process of being scammed or had been scammed. Seven people called me the next day and said they received the same call that day some of which were ready to hand over money because it was so convincing. Another person told of having a spouse purchasing cards before they realized it was a scam. The awareness from the sheriffs office and my blog stopped these people from falling victim to this. Mission accomplished. People understood and could reflect on what I had written.
Knowledge is powerful. I am thankful I could pass the knowledge on.
What to do?
1. If someone claims to be law enforcement -- even if you think you know them -- remember he gave me a name of a true law enforcement officer --- hang up, call 911. If they are legit, they won't fault you for verifying.
2. If someone tells you they have your address & they are coming to your home, be safe not sorry. Call 911.
3. Trust your instincts. Remember I had that "this doesn't feel right" kind of feeling more than once but doubted myself.
4. Never give your location to anyone. I allowed the impostor to convince me I had to share where I was since I was "turning myself in." I could have been abducted anywhere along the route. Scarier thought than losing money.
5. Remember knowledge is power so if you make a mistake let others learn from it. Scammers aka criminals want you to feel embarrassed or afraid so you will not issue a warning. Don't let them control you.
My blog has always been just a way for me to share my story, a way to share insights. It does not meet most ELA rules. Its title Romans 8:28 Living was derived from that verse..."and we know all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose." How could I consider letting this not be used for good? Shouting it from the rooftops to help others protect themselves and those they love. It doesn't just happen to elderly (which is truly what many of you were thinking)-- it could happen to you, be ready to rock if it does!
You are now armed with the knowledge of how to protect yourself.