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Friday, 21 June 2019 17:31

Richmond County native pranks potential Social Security scammer

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The number on the phone screen above has been reported on several online forums in relation to Social Security scams. The number on the phone screen above has been reported on several online forums in relation to Social Security scams. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ABERDEEN — A Richmond County native decided to have a little fun with scammer purporting to be from the Social Security Administration.

Richard “Ozzy” Graham, originally of Hamlet, had received a call from a number with an Austin, Texas area code from someone claiming he was in trouble with his Social Security Card.


He tried calling back several times but was hung up on.

Finally, while driving through Aberdeen, he got to speak with “Eric,” a man with a thick foreign accent.

Graham recorded the conversation Thursday and posted it to YouTube on Friday.

“I record most of my calls because of a personal matter and because these idiots scam the elderly out of their hard-earned money,” he told the RO on Friday.

Graham told “Eric” — who didn’t identify himself until later in the conversation — about the previous calls and hangups but said he thought it may have been due to a bad connection.

When asked for his name, Graham replied with “David Gilmour” — the guitarist from Pink Floyd — recalling later that the reason he chose that name was because the band’s song “Young Lust” from the album “The Wall” was playing on the radio.

“Eric” then asked “David” to confirm his social security number, with Graham providing four digits. “Eric” then asked for the full number, with Graham giving a fake number and repeating it several times.

“Eric” then said something in a foreign language and asked “David” to hold on.

After being on hold for nearly two minutes, “Eric” came back on the line and asked “David” what he did for a living. Graham said he worked for a logistics company.

“Eric” then gave the reason for the call.

“David, the thing is, the reason you were contacted today was to inform you regarding some legal enforcement action filed on your social security,” “Eric” said. “We have put a notice from law and enforcement agency to suspend your social at the right moment cause we have found many suspicious activities on your social. 

“So did you receive any calls from police department regarding this case?”

Graham replied: “No, I haven’t, but should I be worried … am I in trouble, like bad trouble, because of this?”

“You don’t know anything about this case?” “Eric” asked.

Graham said he had tried to call back the previous day and this was the first time he was learning about his social security card being suspended.

“I didn’t think that was possible,” he added.

“Eric” told him to grab a pen and piece of paper, but Graham said he was driving and on his way to a meeting.

“We picked up another company called Bunny Hops,” he said. “They transport rabbits and soaps … we’re trying to get these guys to come on our crew.”

“But work can wait, this is more important,” he continued. “This is about my Social Security card … I’m nervous right now … I don’t know — oh God, there’s a cop behind me.”

“Just calm down, David. Just calm down,” “Eric” said, telling “David” he would provide all the information and to grab a piece of paper.

“What was your name again,” Graham asked.

“Eric (unintelligible). Officer Eric (unintelligible.)”

Graham said the cop that was behind him was backing off and told “Eric” that he had a pen and paper ready.

Eric again gave his name, employee ID number, the case ID number and the warrant number: “A as in Alpha, U as in Unic, 9-4-2-90.”

(Note: It’s not clear if he was referring to the Belgian supermarket chain, French car manufacturer or if he meant “eunuch.”)

Graham then asked if the cop behind him could pull him over, since his SSN had been suspended.

“Not at the right time, cause you are under the investigation right now,” “Eric” said. “Once you handle this line, your case will be go inside the courthouse and after that after we will suspend your social security, you know, social security card, yeah.”

Graham then said the cop following him cut on his blue lights.

“What should I do?” he asked.

“Don’t worry about that,” “Eric” replied. “This is a strictly recorded and monitored line by Social Security Administration, police department and United States Marshals,” and that it would be “played inside the courthouse as evidence.”

Graham then told “Eric” that he had a stolen AK-47 in his car.

“No serial numbers and it’s fully automatic,” he said. “If I get pulled over, Eric, I’m goin’ to prison.”

“Are you a criminal?”

“No, I’m not a criminal, but this gun in the backseat of my car is hot … I’ve got four of ‘em, they’re gold-plated. They’re like Liberache’s AK-47.”

Graham added that he had a Desert Eagle .50-caliber in his glove box — “But I have a license for that.”

“No problem,” “Eric” said. “Don’t worry about that.”

“Eric” then started to tell him about the investigation and when Graham tried to say something, “Eric” loudly said, “Please do not interrupt me. Please do not interrupt me while I’m giving you information about this case. Once I will complete my part I will give you fair enough chance to speak something on this recorded line and get answer your all questions, but once I complete my part, am clear?”

Graham responded: “You’re crystal clear.”

“Eric” then proceeded to tell “David” that the investigation was started when they found an abandoned car on the “south border of Texas.”

“And the car contained some blood and drugs residues inside the car,” he said. “After checking the ownership of the vehicle, we found that the car was rented on your name” and that his Social Security information “was on it.”

He went on to tell him that this was “confidential information.”

“Eric” then asked “David”:

If he had ever rented a car - “Yeah, I’ve rented plenty of cars.” How many vehicles were under his name - “I own seven cars (a ‘67 Ford Shelby GT 500, a ‘92 Honda Accent, a 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 and several junk cars.)” How many bank accounts he had - “I have four (with a combined balance of $845,000.25.” If he lived with family or by himself; and How much he earns in a month - “I make about $12,000 a month.”

After taking down the information, “Eric” tells “David” to hold on and after a few seconds of silence, Graham reminds him about the cop behind him and the AK-47s, saying the cop’s blue lights had been on for 10 minutes and he hadn’t stopped.

“Just stay on line with me,” “Eric” said. “I already told you there’s money laundering and drug trafficking charges on your social security number” and asked whom he lent his identity to in the state of Texas.

“Who was using my ID in Texas?” Graham asked. “That would have to beeeee, uh … I don’t know anybody in Texas, to be honest … Well, wait a minute, I do. I do know one guy in Texas. His name is Ben Dover, B-E-N D-O-V-E-R.”

“Is he your friend, or what?” “Eric” asked.

“I met him once or twice,” Graham replied. “I flew to Texas for a meeting. I believe he lives in Houston or San Antonio, one of those areas. I’m not quite sure.”

After that, the call ended.

(Note: The entire conversation can be viewed at the bottom of this page.)

This isn’t the first time Graham has pranked a potential scammer, but it is the first time he’s recorded and posted the conversation.

“I especially like it when they get mad with me,” he said “Like ‘Officer Eric’ when he hollered at me to not interrupt him!”

Graham also isn’t the first person to play along with scammers from that number.

An internet search revealed a similar recorded conversation where a woman was told that her number had been used for criminal activity.

When she asked who was doing it, the man, “Officer Adam,” told her that they thought it was her.

“I don’t think so,” she said, to which the man replied with expletives and hung up.

Several individuals have posted on forums saying this number, 512-377-9785, was used by Social Security scammers with a similar story.

According to Laura Brewer with the N.C. Attorney General’s Office, there have been 109 complaints of Social Security scams across the state so far this year.

In January, the AG’s office issued a press release about the calls regarding suspension of Social Security cards. Some were even showing the Social Security Administration’s phone number on Caller ID.

The following tips were given:

Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized. SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time. Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Or your bank account or credit card number.

If someone is calling trying to obtain your identity information, call the AG’s office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM (1-877-566-7226).

 

William R. Toler

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