June 2024

Web Submission:

Dear Ashley and Brit,

I can’t even believe the timing on what just happened. I’m a longtime Crime Junkie and decided to listen to your most recent episode on scams on my neighborhood walk just now.

I literally still had my AirPods in from finishing the episode when my phone rang with a blocked call. I don’t even know why I decided to answer because I usually screen calls but I did answer. They verified my name and identified themselves as from the city police department. The initial statement was that they had an official notification for me, and my thoughts instantly went to the worst-case scenario that something had happened to someone in my family. So I was emotionally revved up and then he started to talk about how they had a signed document by me saying that I would appear in court on a certain date and that I had missed the court appearance. They even had my address correct saying officers serviced the notice to xxx address. They said that they were calling on behalf of a judge and that there was now a misdemeanor charge in my name for failure to appear.

Obviously, I never signed anything and had no knowledge of what they were talking about. This is a big deal to anyone but particularly to me because my professional license is affected by any non-traffic charge. However, I had finished your scam episode just 30 seconds prior, so even though I was freaking out, I told them to please repeat their name and I’d be coming in person with my uncle who is a lawyer (this is true, he actually is a retired lawyer). He went on about how I didn’t need a lawyer but x and y were happening, but I maintained I would come in person. Then he said that if I would not follow the instructions on the phone, he needed me to verbally repeat some statement with my information saying I wouldn’t proceed. I told him I would not give any personal information over the phone but wanted his name and I am coming in person.

He then started getting flustered and putting me on hold (presumably to re-adjust the script?) but I held to the statement that I needed his name and would come in person. I offered to call back through the non-emergency line. He kept trying to push for additional personal information but I ultimately hung up when he kept putting me on hold.

He immediately called back and I told him that he had thirty seconds to tell me his name and where I should come in person, for which he had no answer. So I hung up again and declined the subsequent 3-4 calls. I cannot believe the timing – if I hadn’t heard this episode when I did, I think I would have been so flustered by everything in the phone call that I would have at least provided a lot more personal information at the minimum.

It’s absolutely terrifying to receive a notification phone call “from the police” and even as a well-educated, long-standing Crime Junkie, I was panicking. Your episode saved my personal information and possibly my bank account. I have the utmost respect for those who shared their stories so I could learn from them and be safe.

Much love,