For the last few months, I’ve been hooked on watching Youtube videos of people who toy with phone scammers. I started by watching a guy who calls himself Pierogi, on a show titled “Scammer Payback” and then found, perhaps, the most noted scammer scammer anywhere, Kitboga.
For years, these two, and countless others, have created tremendously funny, yet alarming, content as they spend hours on end portraying characters — from a California Valley Girl to elderly ladies called “Vivian Rogers” and “Anita Napp” among other monikers.
Their purpose — identify the scammers, many of whom are based in India, and waste as much of their time as they possibly can — because by wasting their time, knowing there won’t be a scam, these evil people can’t go after others, who are legitimately unsuspecting of their intent.
Some of the scammers are downright nasty and tell lies designed to scare the heck out of the victims. In one instance I watched, the scammer told the “elderly lady” if she didn’t give him $10,000 in Target gift cards, he’d shoot her husband. And that’s not even the worst of it. Check out these Youtube videos if you get a chance … you won’t be disappointed. And this is what leads to today’s commentary.
Last week, the Nutley Police Department were able to interrupt a scam-in-progress when a Clifton woman, 75, went to her bank, in Nutley, and showed the teller a note that said she needed police help because someone on the phone was keeping her “held hostage.” The caller demanded she transfer money to his bank — even gave her the account details. The first transfer would have been $50 to ensure it all worked. After that, it would have been $40,000 transferred.
Because the woman and the bank took action and got the authorities involved, the woman was saved from losing an exorbitant amount of cash. Far too often, conversely, people actually send the cash, or gift cards, to the scammers — and by the time they speak up, it’s too late. This brave woman must be commended and the same goes for the Nutley PD for intervening forthwith and saving yet another resident from being a hopeless victim. Folks, talk to your elderly family, friends and neighbors and warn them about these kinds of scams.
They happen far too often, unnecessarily. Don’t let your loved one be the next victim. Please!
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.