In the con artist world, these amounts officially made me a “whale” — someone with enough money to warrant their highest level of attention.
So Officer Morgan shifted to attack mode, doing everything he could to frighten me further.
“Please tell me the names of the bank accounts that are owned by you and how much is in each account so I can determine which are your accounts and which are fake.
And make sure you don’t tell me the routing number or account number — if you do, that will be illegal.” I told him I had two accounts (again, both fake) — a Chase account with $12,000 in it and a Wells Fargo account with $85,000 in it.
This is the point where I changed personas from Carl Johnson, easy target, to Doug Shadel, fraud fighter. When the goal is over $80,000 in potential cash, expert crooks like Mr.
“Doesn’t that give you access to all the money that is on those cards? He ticked off a crazily long list of crimes linked to my card, then informed me that there were 11 federal counts of fraud charged against me.If convicted, I would face 30 years of prison time.I asked Shaw, “Do I give you the ‘government-certified bonds’? But then came the bomb: “Now, once you get the government-certified bonds, you just have to provide us the serial numbers so we can make sure we can update that on your file.” And that’s how they steal your money, ladies and gentlemen.With the serial number, they are free to withdraw the money and disappear. We just need the serial numbers to update your files. The whole point of putting the money on those government-issued bonds is to safeguard them, so no, nothing will happen to the money. Johnson.” Angry, but with all my questions answered, I simply ended the call. Shaw called me back more than a dozen times, but I didn’t answer. He explained that scammers had gotten ahold of my Social Security number, but he would help me sort it out.To do that, he needed to know exactly how much money I had.My persona was “Carl Johnson,” a kindly, soft-spoken gentleman who happens to have plenty of savings. He was clearly in a boiler room because I could hear several others talking in the background. I gave him my fake name; somehow, he was able to pull up my “file” on his computer immediately.Here’s what happened over 46 minutes of phone conversation (edited for clarity and length): “Hello, Social Security Administration. I then gave him a fake home address and fake Social Security number, but he pressed ahead as if all was confirmed. Johnson, I’m a senior officer in the investigation department of the Social Security Administration,” he told me.The FBI was about to issue a “non-bailable” arrest warrant for me; after my arrest, all of my bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, 401(k) plan, passport and Social Security check would be suspended. “Now listen to me very carefully,” he said, more kindly.Then he asked: “Do you accept all of these allegations under your name? “We have been keeping a close watch on you and after going over your past reports, we believe this might not have been done by you. We don’t have any evidence that you performed criminal activity.