By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Imagine Margaret Kilgore’s shock and surprise when she picked up the phone and heard the person on the other end crying, claiming to be her grandson and saying he is locked up in Mexico and needed her to wire $2,000.
Imagine her shock and surprise when it came to light that her grandson was safe and sound at N.C. State in Raleigh the entire time and the person on the other end was a scam artist.
Margaret’s husband, Ed Kilgore, pastor at Acquoni Baptist Chapel, got on the phone midway through the first phone conversation.
“There were several flags that went up,” he said. “I know my grandson and I knew this didn’t sound right.”
The scam itself was somewhat confusing and complicated. The person claiming to be the Kilgore’s grandson gave the phone to someone claiming to be a Mexican law enforcement official who told them to wire the money to a number they claimed was the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.
“I knew it was a scam, but I had to know that my grandson was safe,” Ed said.
So, he told the scammers that he would call them back in a few minutes if they would give him a call-back number. They did, but the area code given was in Montreal, Canada.
Ed contacted his daughter and then his grandson at N.C. State and once he was 100 percent sure everyone was safe, he called the number back and asked them why the U.S. Embassy in Mexico would have a number in Canada.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves,” Ed told the scammers and then hung up.
“To lose $2,000 would have been terrible, but the anguish they put my wife through was worse.”
Ed told this story to his congregation several days later and found out that another couple, who wished to remain anonymous, received an almost identical phone call.
Ed’s advice to everyone is to be careful and aware of these scams and if something sounds fishy to look into it before blindly sending money or resources.
For more information on phone scams and how to avoid them or report them, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at https://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/index.shtml.