While eating breakfast one Sunday, the doorbell rang. John and Lydia wondered who would be calling before eight. John opened the door to a police officer, standing on his porch.
"Are you John Banks?"
"Call this detective, now." He handed John a business card.
"Officer, may I ask what this is in reference to?"
"I don't know. He's located in another state. I came to your door as a courtesy for a fellow police officer. Apparently, he's been trying to get in touch with you, and asked me to call on you in person."
"I see. Thank you officer, I'll call him."
John looked at Lydia’s face which had gone thirty shades of pale.
She nodded her head silently.
"Do you know anything about this?"
"John, he asked for you! Why would I know about this? I know my stomach is burning, and flopping, akin to a slug, that just had salt poured on it. But, I don't know why a detective, from another state, wants to speak with you."
John called the detective, "Mr. Olden?"
"This is John Banks. I understand you've been trying to reach me sir?"
"Yes, I have."
"Do you mind if I put you on speaker? My wife is about to crawl up into the phone."
"Sure, no problem."
"Okay, go ahead detective."
"John have you been trying to sell a Bobcat recently?
They looked at each other mouths ajar, trying to absorb the question. Also, wondering if they were on "You've been pranked."
"No, sir I haven't been trying to sell a Bobcat. May I ask, what's this about?"
"Well, it seems someone has stolen your name and address, and has been using it, as a scam, to sell a Bobcat. This person has scammed people out of money in Florida, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut. There are ads in about one hundred newspapers with your name and address. I kinda figured it was a scam, but needed to ask you about it. We're trying to get the individual or individuals, but it seems the scam stems from overseas. These individuals used your name and address, with a picture of a Bobcat, for the people to see. And, people, responded with checks, to buy the Bobcat."
“You mean to say, my name is being bandied about in a scam game?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“Did they steal my identity?”
“Not your social security number, just address, phone number—enough for people to respond to the advertisement—and they’ve extorted quite a bit of money from gullible individuals.”
The detective informed John what to do. Equipped with a case number, and instructions for Monday morning. The conversation was about to come to a close.
But, not before Lydia asked, “How could something like this happen?”
“It could be a random thing. Or, someone might have cracked into your computer. They've an email address for John,people have been responding via the computer, in addition to the newspaper advertisments.”
“Do you think we’re in any danger of a disgruntled person coming to our door, looking for their money or the Bobcat?”
“Perhaps, but most of these individuals are in other states. So, try not to worry. If anyone shows up, refer them to me, with your case number.”
“Oh my goodness! Suppose they don’t wait for an explanation?” Lydia was circling the kitchen table, eyes wide.
“Mrs. Banks, I really don’t believe that you’re in danger.”
“Okay.” Lydia sat, the silence was deafening, until her next question. “I’ve been nervous since this conversation began. However, I’ve really wanted to ask…how is that poor Bobcat?”
John looked at Lydia. A smile slowly crossed his face. The detective chuckled. Lydia failed to see the humor in her sincere concern, for a poor animal. She’d hoped it was safe and being treated well.
“Mrs. Banks, the Bobcat… it’s a machine.”
Lydia’s face burned, “I thought you were referring to an actual Bobcat that was connected to an exotic animal underground link.”
This is a true story that happened to us two years ago. My face is red as I type.
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