A scam in five acts

I’ve preserved unusual wording and pronunciations here as well as I could.

Act One

A woman with an Indian accent.

I am calling you from Social Security Administration. Your social security number has been used in connection with illegal activities and will be suspended. If you are not responsible for these activities, then please provide me your name, your address, and the last four digits of your social so that I can verify your information.

I identify myself as Bob Parr and give a Sunnyvale California address where I lived many years ago.

The criminal activities took place in the State of Texas. There was an abandoned black Toyota Corolla with license plate TX2440. People had called to complain about it. When the police investigated it they found blood and drugs inside. This car had been rented under your name. There are also five addresses rented in your name. One is 7609 Claremont Avenue, Rowlett, Texas, 75089. Another is [the address on public record with my current phone number]. Are you associated with any of these addresses?

The criminals wired $236,789 from banks to foreign countries for criminal activities.

You are faced with three serious charges: money laundering, theft by deception, and misleading government information. I will transfer you to U.S. Marshals and they will give to you a new social.

Act Two

A man with an Indian accent.

I am U.S. Marshal Officer Sean Harris from U.S. Marshals Department. My ID number is 54362. I am going to suspend your social security number because you are under investigation by Taxes [sic] State Rangers.

There have been five properties rented in your name and $236,789 has been sent to narco trafficking countries. This has been carried out by an impoaster [sic]. The impoaster is someone from California who knows you very well.

I need to verify your fake informations to safeguard your true informations. I will then send your informations to the U.S. Treasury Department which will make a cross-verification. Lying to me is a federal offense.

Do you own your home? How many cars are in your family? Do you have a regular driver’s license? How many banks do you have accounts at? How much money do you have in CDs and money market accounts? What credit cards do you have? Do you have an IRA and a 401(k)?

Do you manage your investments yourself or through a financial advisor? … Because you manage your investments through a financial advisor I do not need any more information about them because your financial advisor will be guarding them against impoasters. But, how much money do you have in your checking and savings accounts?

I tell him I have accounts with Wells Fargo with just over $15,000 in them.

I am now going to forward your informations to the U.S. Treasury Department. You must remain on this call. Do not hang up the line and do not go on mute. Because we do not know who the actual culprit is, you may not share any information about this with anyone. Due to the Privacy Act of 1974, until I provide you with your new social security number and take your name out of this mess, do not disclose this to any third person or we will take legal activities against you and investigate you.

Please wait on hold while I contact the attorney general of your state who will assign a federal attorney to you. You do know that only one person can have a social security number, correct? The federal attorney will give you a new social security number so that you are no longer connected with the criminal who has broken into your accounts.

Act Three

After five minutes on hold.

All of your assets and bank accounts are under investigation with the U.S. Treasury. The moment we suspend your social security number, all your assets will be seized and frozen due to the chance that the person who has your personal information might try to misuse it.

A person under investigation is not allowed to hold more than $4,000 in his hand or liquid money in a bank account because any more than that raises suspicion of money laundering or drug trafficking. Once we freeze your accounts any money above that will be turned over to the U.S. government.

The U.S. Treasury will contact your bank. Make sure that your bank people are not aware that your name and your social security number are involved in a criminal matter. If they were to find out, then for the sake of the bank’s reputation they will freeze your account, make you sit over there, and open an investigation with the local sheriff.

If you do not want to face legal charges and lose the funds, then you can safeguard your funds under the Social Security Board of the Social Security Administration. You will send these funds to the federal attorney assigned to you by the attorney general of your state, who will convince the authorities in the State of Taxes that you are a victim. I will send two government employees to your door before 12 noon tomorrow to show you the fake IDs and fake documentation and help you transfer your funds back into your accounts.

If you do not do this, then the moment we update this case to the local sheriff department they will take you into legal custody and start the investigation. You will have to fly to Taxes and hire an attorney to convince them you are a victim.

You are required to stay on this line, because if we break the connection then I am required to report you to the authorities. Please drive to your bank immediately. I will provide you with more instructions when you arrive.

I tell him that this is a land line, and that I have no cell phone – as a retiree who doesn’t leave the house during the pandemic, I canceled my cell phone plan in June and my Motorola flip phone is sitting in the drawer with a dead battery.

Very well, I will give you the instructions. Leave your telephone line open and do not hang up. I will wait on this line for you to pick up the phone when you return.

You are to get a cashier’s check under the name of the federal attorney. Put it in an envelope and cover it with tape or some type of glue. The federal attorney will present it inside the state courthouse of Taxes.

I require three things of you:

  1. Keep the phone line open, do not hang up. It is being recorded as proof that you are a victim.
  2. You will have to safeguard the money under the Social Security Board of the Social Security Administration.
  3. You will have to take care of the situation yourself today on an immediate basis.

You are not allowed to tell any third person about this, including your wife.

Withdraw two cashier’s checks, one for $9,000, the other for $6,000. Do not wipe your account completely, so that your account remains active. The attorney general of your state will provide the name of the federal attorney to make the checks out to. Put the checks in an envelope and go to FedEx and send it to that address.

I will put you on hold while I get the attorney name and address.


After fifteen minutes on hold, a woman with a Chinese accent.

You are waiting for U.S. Marshal Officer Sean Harris to give you instructions, yes? Please get dressed and let me know when you are ready to go out and then I will transfer you to him.

I let her know that I’m ready to talk with him now. She sounds surprised.

Act Four

The attorney general of your state is Xavier Becerra who has been serving since 2017. [thank you Wikipedia] This is the name and address of the federal attorney he told me to give to you:

Karen Seltz
2808 East 16th Street
Apartment 16
Des Moines, Iowa 50316

He [sic] is the federal attorney appointed by the attorney general. You will send the envelope to him by FedEx. Here is the location of the nearest FedEx to your zip code. …

Go to your bank. Tell the teller that you need to get a cashier’s check under this name. Remember that the moment they come to know that your name and social security number are involved in a criminal matter, they will treat you as a defaulter, put a freeze on your account, and start a criminal investigation. You need to say to them “for my personal use I need a cashier’s check” or give them any valid reason.

Once you have the cashier’s check, put it in an envelope, and write the name and address of the federal attorney. Do not write anything like “federal attorney” on the envelope. Then go to FedEx and tell them “I need to make an overnight express courier.” The documents need to be delivered between nine and ten in the morning. They will charge you money. That amount will be refunded back to you tomorrow. If FedEx questions you about the envelope, tell them “it contains some personal documentations which has to be delivered to my friend tomorrow.”

Keep the receipt for the certified transaction. When you return home, provide me the tracking ID. Tomorrow morning before noon the officers will come to your doorstep, they will hand you a new social security number, and they will return your money to you.

The most important thing which you have to understand is that the culprit impoaster could be anyone. Do not disclose this information to anyone until tomorrow.

Act Five

I let the phone line sit open for ten minutes, then I hang it up.

Ten minutes later, the phone rings. I answer it and get hung up on immediately.

A minute after that, the phone rings again. Another woman with an Indian accent.

This is Officer Mary Allen from the Sunnyvale police department. What is your location? Because we are sending officers to arrest you for drug trafficking and money laundering. If you would like to come to the police department and turn yourself in, keep the line open and do not hang up or try to run away. The address is 700 All America Way. [thank you Google] We are not coming to discuss the matter, we are coming to arrest you and to take you under custody for ninety days.

She then conference-calls me in with the previous gentleman, who again identifies himself as U.S. Marshal Officer Sean Harris from U.S. Marshals Department.

Mary, to Sean: Mr. Bob Parr is not taking responsibility. If you send me an email I will stop the arrest warrant.

Sean, to me: You lied! You lied when you said you were going to your bank! Are you willing to cooperate with the government or are you willing to be arrested for the crime which you have not done?

I tell him that I went to the bank and told them the story he told me to tell them, but that they refused to give me cashier’s checks because they warned me of a scam.

Go to another bank then! Here is the address of the next closest Wells Fargo to your zip code. Take your wife’s cell phone so that I can tell you what to say to them! Do not tell her what you are doing, just take her cell phone and go! You must go immediately because I have a non-bailable arrest warrant for your name!

I explain to him that, instead, I have decided to escape before the police get here and I’m going to go hide out with some friends for a while.

He hangs up on me.

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