CATAULA, Ga — Phones have made it easier than ever for scammers to trick people out of their hard-earned money. Some of them can be really persuasive or even scary when they call. But one scammer got more than he bargained for when he tried to intimidate a Cataula couple. Tami and Buddy Bryan are sharing their story of empowerment in hopes of helping others not to fall victim to a scam they avoided.
The sound of a ringing phone used to signal the call of a friend, or at least, a trusted party dialing your line. But now, it’s a popular tool for scam artists. Tami and Buddy Bryan of Cataula know it well.
“Well, we had applied online for an equity line of credit on our home,” says Tami.
Moments after hitting submit on the application, Tami received a text message saying they had been approved for a loan.
“So the first red flag was the fact that we hadn’t signed anything. No paper work. Nothing,” Tami says.
What followed was a call from a man claiming to be a bank representative. Listen what information he then demanded from the couple.
“I need your password and PIN,” Tami says the caller told her.
He asked her more than once, and when she didn’t provide the information, he grew angry. When she hung up on him, he called back.
But this scammer had dialed the wrong number– and messed with the wrong woman. What he didn’t realize was the career criminal dialed a career law enforcement officer. Tami spent years as a Florida Highway Patrol Officer and as a Columbus Police Officer.
“I told him, I said, ‘This is a scam. I know you’re a scammer,'” Tami says.
Tami is speaking about her experience because she wants others to be on-guard when it comes to con-artists who target victims by phone. She says one simple thing we can all do is put our computers to work for us. Google it!
“Most of the time, 99% of the time, they’re on Google. Google their phone or Google their name, and it’ll come up as a scam artist,'” says Tami.
That’s what she did with this caller; she Googled him.
Also, remember, never give out your social security number, bank account number, or credit card numbers to callers who are promising you money.
The Bryans also contacted their financial institutions after the scammer’s call to put safeguards in place to help keep their accounts safe. For anyone who is targeted by scammers, that is a good idea. Also, when possible, report suspicious activity to law enforcement. Give them any names or telephone numbers you are able to obtain.