When a would-be scammer called Ann Stephens on her cell phone and told her she was going to be arrested in 45 minutes for money laundering and drug trafficking, he had no idea he was actually talking to the real police.
Stephens is a captain with the Apex Police Department in North Carolina and used the opportunity to record the call—in a video later posted to Facebook—to serve as teachable moment for others.
The scammer who identified himself as “Officer John Black” claimed that a sheriff’s deputy was already on the way to arrest Stephens after he said at least 25 fraudulent bank accounts had been opened using her social security number—racking up charges of more than $10 million.
“Ok, so a sheriff’s deputy is going to come here to arrest me?” she asked the man as she can be seen laughing to herself.
“Absolutely. I told you there’s some serious allegations,” the man replies.
As the call goes on, the man tries to get Stephens to give him her current address—she supplies the address of the police station—and tries to get her to give out the last four digits of her social security number, which Stephens refused to do.
When asked whether she had shared her social security number with anyone, Stephens replied, “I certainly didn't share it with a drug dealer."
After not getting the information he wanted from Stephens, "John Black" transferred the call to his supervisor, “Jason Brown,” who Stephens pressed for details about the actual allegations against her, until the call abruptly ends.
“These are scam calls. Don’t ever give out your information. Don’t ever verify information even if they have it. That information can be found on the web about anywhere,” she said at the end of the video. “They are all scammers. Just hang up on them or have a little fun.”
Stephens later spoke to local station WTVD about the call and her decision to poke fun at the scammers.
“I just had to laugh because I knew it wasn’t real and it wasn’t going to happen. Here it’s been almost 24 hours and they still haven’t showed up to get me,” she said. “That’s what’s scary, I understand that, but we want to make sure the public understands that that is not real. That is not going to happen.”
Since the video was posted Tuesday, it’s been shared nearly 10,000 times and garnered 1,000 comments.
"A lot of people want to engage the scammer and keep them on the phone and have a little fun with them. But a lot of people don't have time or are just afraid to do it, so I think they got to live vicariously through us," Stephens said of the video’s popularity.
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