Scamming servicemen and their families just in time for Christmas!
This story is beyond sick.
FARGO, N.D. (KVLY/Gray News) – It’s a devastating phone call that no parent ever wants to get.
A Fargo father was told his son, a Marine, was killed while on active duty. The call seemed legitimate until they asked for his Social Security number, KVLY reported.
“They wanted to know when and where I wanted him buried and how soon and then they would call me back,” said John Stautz.
It’s a phone call that he will never forget from a private number, telling him his son is dead.
“He said he was from the U.S. Marine Corps and that my son had been killed in live-fire practice,” Stautz said.
His son is a Marine, and that’s what made all of this seem so real. So he called his wife to tell her the devastating news.
“It took a little while to call my wife and tell her about it. I didn’t know what to say and do. I was just in awe,” Stautz said.
But while Stautz was still trying to grasp what he just heard, things weren’t adding up in his head.
The caller asked for his Social Security number so they could verify it was his son. Thinking this was all real, Stautz gave it over to him.
“I started thinking this is kind of odd because I’ve seen it where the military comes to your door, not call you on the phone,” Stautz said.
After his wife started calling family to tell them what they just heard, there was a massive sigh of relief.
“My oldest brother got a hold of my daughter, who just happened to say, ‘No, he’s just fine,” Stautz said.
Believe it or not, the phone call Stautz got isn’t that uncommon. Bess Ellenson with the Better Business Bureau said they always hear about scammers saying whatever they can to get your personal information.
“Unfortunately, these scams tend to work because the scammer on the other side ends up instilling fear in the person that they’re calling,” Ellenson said.
I did my best to search the internet and haven’t found other reports of similar scams.
But be on high alert.
If someone calls you and gives you bad news of a deceased loved one, try not to panic.
If you do inadvertently give up too much information, or have done so in the past, contact local law enforcement.