“You have raised a deplorable, shiftless, lazy son.”
The man on the other end of the phone was yelling this at me.
“Looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. ”
He continued ranting.
“I can see where he gets it. Uneducated people like you are ruining this country. All you do is watch TV and blame others for your problems. You know what? People get up every morning and still go to work but not you, not your son. You know why? You’re worthless.”
He was really amped up now.
This man, calling from an 877 number, claimed he was an attorney, claimed he was going to serve our son for fraud.
Whenever I attempted to ask the most basic of questions: Who are you? What firm do you work with? Where are you located? What kind of fraud are you talking about? This “lawyer” launched into a breathless rant directed at my failures as a mother, as a person, as a human being.
“You must be ashamed of yourself,” he said.
“For what?” I asked.
“For raising such a worthless human being as your son.”
“Is your mother ashamed of you?”
With that he hung up.
And I was left wondering: Who the hell is this person?
What he obviously didn’t know is that I’ve spent my share of time with lawyers in courtrooms, and in the business world and I knew enough to know there isn’t a legitimate attorney out there who would ever conduct themselves like mob bosses on the kill.
Turns out my instincts were right.
It was all a phone scam.
“They are very aggressive,” said the local police officer I contacted following the phone call. Having worked with police all these years, I feel perfectly comfortable reporting wrongdoings, no matter who is doing the wrong. I understand that the local police aren’t going to be investigating and that very little can be done, but I think it is important to report things like vandalism or telephone scammers. (Do these people have such lousy lives that they have absolutely nothing to contribute that is worthy or good?)
“They call people saying these things, telling you that your child owes this or that, in hopes that you will provide them with a credit card number or wire them money,” the officer said. “They often target the elderly and tell them that unless they pay $500 on their credit card their Medicare will be cancelled.”
Surely there is a place in hell reserved for those who prey upon the elderly, the poor, the unsuspecting, the uneducated.
I would have liked to taken this guy out behind the trailer and kicked his sorry behinney into next week.
I could have done it, too.
But here’s what I worry about: What happens when this fool calls up a war veteran who is having a hard time readjusting to civilian life? What happens when he begins to berate someone who is fragile?
This group of scammers called every member of our family, including my son-in-law, and carried on like Yankee fans denied beer. They called all of us but never called the son they claimed was the focus of their rants.
When Stephan learned that somebody was calling all of his family members and threatening them with legal action, he called the number they left with each of us.
They tried the same approach with him — yelling, bullying, threatening. But what they would never do is answer any question he asked: What lawsuit? What fraud? What are you talking about?
The more questions he asked, the angrier and uglier the scammer became. But the part that fries my sweet potatoes is when the scammer said to my son: “You’re worth more to your family dead than you are alive.”
Stephan learned after the phone call — from his sister who works at a law firm — that these folks aren’t legit.
This is their tactic. Bully. Rant. Threaten legal action. All in an effort to scam anyone out of a dollar bill.
Had we not been the kind of family that circles the wagons at least five times a day, I am not sure what the outcome would have been.
If you are the war veteran who has unable to find a job you love, or even a job at all, and you’ve just learned that due to the damn politics of sequestration the military is denying you tuition benefits so you can no longer even have a hope of finding a better job one day, and some freak calls you up yelling about some legal action of which you don’t have a clue but worry that maybe you did screw up something along the way — do you take the scammers advice?
Do you pull the trigger?
Warn your neighbors. Tell your friends. These folks are a hearty bunch of lowlifes.
But we have their number: 877.251.7070
Of course that will change in about two days. That’s their MO. Get a new phone number. Start the scamming all over.
If I were God I would take all the Prosperity Gospel preachers and put them in the same room with telephone and Internet scammers.
I’d toss in Snooki and friends, the Kardashian clan, Honey Boo Boo and Mama June, and members of Congress just for the hell of it.
I’d have Jesus drop by on occasion like Heidi Klum on Project Runway to try and interject some grace and levity into the mix.
Then I’d send in a three-tour war veteran, preferably an Army Ranger, to make those people stand up straight and act right.
That’s what I would do with those people if I were God.
And you? What would you do?
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of A Silence of Mockingbirds. She is a trailer park graduate and a Gold Star Daughter.