I've been receiving an alarming number of scam emails lately, and I'm getting really frustrated! Thankfully, I never fell into their traps. But today, I'll share with you the most frightening experience that I had to deal with because of dishonest and vile people. The worst part? It happened in real life, not online. I was also too young to understand what the hell was going on.
I think I was in 3rd grade when this happened. One saturday afternoon, my parents took my siblings to the hospital because both of them have very high fevers. I was left in the house with our maids/nannies, and I remember just lying in bed whilst watching Bugs Bunny.
Then I heard a knock, it was one of our maids. She looked very distressed and frightened, but at that time, I thought she was just having a really bad day. She asked me if I knew the code to our vault, and I said I don't (I really don't, my parents were so secretive about it, they would not even let us peek!)
She begged me to tell her, tears were already streaming down her face so I told her again that I honestly have no idea how to open it. She left the room, went down, and came back with a hammer. Yup, that's right. She hammered the vault but still no luck, the lock wouldn't budge.
The phone rang, I didn't know who called but whoever it was, he scared the shit out of our maid. That person was trying to tell our maid that "she didn't have much time and that she needs to get the cash right away"
Our poor maid spent hours trying to hammer down the vault, and there I was, just staring helplessly at her because she wouldn't tell me what was happening.
My family finally came home and I was just so relieved that someone can finally explain to me what's going on. Our maid, on the other hand, could not believe what she was seeing.
Apparently, the caller pretended to be our family lawyer and told her that my family got into a car accident. That my brother's critical (50/50 chance of living) and that my sister needs to be operated right away. My mum 'told' our 'lawyer' to get the cash, important papers, and jewellery inside the vault because they wouldn't operate without the money and other documents (given the "situation", not sure why my parents needed the jewelleries for the operation too?!)
Looking back, I was so relieved that my parents never told me the code to the vault. We would have lost nearly everything, and god knows what would have happened to our maid.
The scariest part? The caller knows an awful lot of information about us. He knows our surname, our first names, where we live, our phone number obviously, and the names of our mum's siblings.
Needless to say, my mum freaked the hell out and I felt so sorry for our maid. Ever since that incident, I've been really careful about the calls/emails/text that I receive. Our family also made a 'secret code' so we have something to use in case things go slightly out of hand.
Back to the main point of this post (and sorry for keeping it so long!) Be careful! Check everything before doing anything. In fact, it's now easier to verify whether something's legit or a phishing scam because you can see who and where it's from. Triple check the sources, ask and nag for info if you have to. Don't feel stupid for being "paranoid" because in the long run, it will only do you good. Better safe than sorry!