Unknown number? Beware before you answer


Imagine receiving 21 phone calls from unknown numbers within one day.
For one Maple Lake native, she doesn’t have to imagine, because receiving a glut of anonymous callers on a daily basis is the reality she faces.
“The loan application which you applied for on the Internet has been successfully approved,” a man calling himself Kevin Cooper said on one voicemail. “Kindly be sure to give me a call back on my number. Call me back as soon as possible so we can complete the application and transfer funds into your account. Congratulations on your loan. Thank you and have a great day.”
There are three problems with that scenario.
“I’ve never filed for a loan and do not use the Internet at all,” said the woman who wishes to remain anonymous. “… And they call me by my maiden name and can’t pronounce it.”
As an Eden Valley resident, she reported the calls to the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office.
“He took a couple of these numbers and called them,” she said. “I said, ‘Don’t do that because they’ll start harassing you.’ He said, ‘If they do, they’ll have the FBI after them because this is a federal number. When he called one, it went to an automated message, so he didn’t talk to anyone.”
The deputy suggested changing her phone number.
“I said, ‘No, I’m not going to let them hold me hostage,’” she said. “I’ve had this number for 10 years. All my friends and family members know it.”
If she could talk to the people harassing her, she knows exactly what she would say.
“I wish I could actually talk to this person and ask if he enjoys what he does for a living and if he can go home, tell his children what he does and be proud of it,” she said. “The officer said they don’t care.”
Lt. Sean Derringer, of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, echoed that sentiment after talking to someone involved in a Craig’s List scam.
“He was laughing at me saying, ‘You the police? You want women? You want drugs? I can get it all for you,” Derringer said. “This guy had no fear of anything because he knew I wouldn’t be able to track him down. It’s just how bold they are and they don’t care.”
More information appears in this week's Messenger