Yesterday, at the crack of dawn, I got a frantic call from my Husband. He had been at work for over an hour already and woke me out of my slumber. First off, to get a call from him so early was unfathomable. He knows how I cherish my sleep. So, I knew something was up.
As I said hello, he realized jumbled sentences that I couldn’t understand. Something was really up. After calming him down, I finally got the whole story. Supposedly, some cash advance place had called him minutes before he called me, saying that he needed to pay them $555 by 3pm or he, my father and my husband’s friend would be arrested.
Hmmm interesting. Now, while he was screaming to me that we needed to find 600 dollars in 6 hours, I got to thinking. How valid was this? How shady was this?
Let’s take it back a notch. My hubby is adorable, strong, loyal and unfortunately, gullible. Not very gullible, but he hasn’t developed his New Jersey smarts yet. He’s a corn-fed, Mid-West boy. He loves to pretend he grew up “in the streets” but if there is a farm behind your “street” then that may not qualify as the ghetto. I’m just saying. So, even though he is my husband and he’s been here for over 5 years, he’s still my padawan. He’s not an East Coast Jedi just yet.
Now, that you know that little tidbit, let me add in that he loves to spring into action without thought. Besides this being a horrible attribute when dealing with life issues, it’s so hard to tame when we try to keep a budget. Like I said, I’m just saying.
Once he calmed down, told me to go take the money out of our account and quickly hung up the phone, I let my street smarts go into action. What he didn’t realize is that this was an obvious scam.
What were the tale-tell signs?
1. They called him out of the blue. If this was ligitimate, we would have gotten documentation a long time ago. Someone calling you at 8 in the morning and telling you you have until 3pm to get them money is not legitimate. That’s called extortion.
2. The number came up as blocked. Any valid corporation would not only have a real number show up on the caller ID, but they would leave you a message. They called my husband 4 times in 3 minutes. Again, not legitimate.
3. WE DID NOT BORROW MONEY FROM THESE PEOPLE….EVER! My husband made the mistake of looking up cash advance options over a year ago when he was being bull-headed and wouldn’t go over the budgert with me. He looked at the account, assumed we didn’t have enough for a big bill that was due at the end of that week, and inquired about it. He also didn’t realize that we had(and still have) sub accounts for our bills. The CFO he is not. This is why I now handle all bills.
The best part is that after he called me, he called my gangster boo, street smart, born in NYC, Mother and she got ON this “company.” She googled the company and found out that there have been many complaints about this scam. She even got the number for the “attorney” that called my husband and attempted to get more information. When she didn’t, she called the local news reporter that does undercover stories about scams. Yes, my mom is THAT serious.
He even called and worried his mother to death. I cleaned up that mess quickly.
Now, what did we learn?
1. I learned that my husband still has lots to learn. I keep thinking he’s my established macho man, but I still have the upper hand with my east coast paranoia. Like the X Files say, “trust no one.”
2. I also learned that I have grown up quite a bit. I used to yell back at him and refuse to follow through with anything foolish until he calmed down and put all the ducks in a row. Now, I let him panic, agree to follow his instruction and do what I KNOW is the right thing to do. Isn’t that the Christain way? Ha!
3. Hubby learned that giving out your information, my information and even his friend’s information, is a big no-no. Seeing as this was over a year ago, and he was still so young then mentally, I pass that up as a big life experience for him. A year later, he sees how stupid that was.
4. Report all scams immediately. One smart thing that hubby did was call the Edison police station to see if there was a warrant out for his arrest, like the “attorney” said there was. Of course, there was not. He went down to the station, filed a complaint, and even took out bank statements from November of last year to January of this year to prove that we had no money tranfer from this company. I will be calling the Attorney General tomorrow and trying to contact the Better Business Bureau. This is how we got concrete information that this was a scam; lots of other people who had this issue reported it to BBB and it was posted online.
Of all days, that didn’t need to happen to us. All bills were paid, most of our items were packed for the new place, and I was going to get up that morning and get our bank check for our deposit on the new place. When all is in place, things love to fall apart. But, when it comes to the silver lining, this scam helped us learn even more life lessons.