Thursday, March 17, 2016

I Don't Know Jack...But He Knows Me

I Don't Know Jack But he Knows Me. Warning blog post about late night phone scams.

Fred does his best to protect me from the world. He tries. But I've always been a trusting soul.

I should really spell that "sole" because there have been a time or two when I've felt like a heel as a result.

See what I did there? Sole. Heel. I crack myself up.

Anyhoo, one of those times was back in 2001, in the early months of dating my now husband, Fred.

I got a call in the middle of the night from the "Nevada State Police." The caller claimed they had found a body of a dead male with no identification and my phone number in his pocket.

Of course, I was all:

Shocked and emotional reaction GIF
What? A dead body? Oh my stars! (

I mean, I had a boyfriend, what if it was him? I had a brother, what if it was him?

I have to tell you, I was a little freaked out.

Then the caller asked for my name.

If I hadn't been such a trusting sole, and so shocked at the whole dead body thing, I might have been a little more skeptical, and reacted like this:

What you talking about Willis? Reaction GIF
Whatchu talkin' about - my name? YOU called ME, don't you know my name?

Really, you would think that my first clue something "just ain't right", was the fact that the call came in collect.

Since when do police officers call people collect?

But we've already established I wasn't thinking rationally. I just figured with budget cuts, the poor old Nevada State Police just couldn't afford to pay for their phone calls.

Made perfect sense at the time. Sort of.

So, I dutifully supplied my name.

Chelsea Handler saying That is stupid reaction GIF.
Yeah, Chelsea, ya think? Hey, here's an idea...slap a little makeup on!

I know. I'm an idiot.

The caller told me they were going to investigate further into the identity of the body and would call me back if he needed anything else.

A few minutes later he called back. He said they ran my name through a database to check my record and it came back that there was a warrant for my arrest because I had written bad checks.

Do you know what I said next? Because giving my name wasn't enough? I said, "How can that be? I don't write bad checks! I work for a bank."

Reaction GIF of exasperated frustrated woman doing a facepalm

Yup, I told him where I worked. A bank, no less.

I just know on the other end of the line, the beady-eyed trickster was going, "CHA-CHING!  WE GOT US A LIVE ONE! AND SHE AIN'T TOO SMART NEITHER!"

Then the caller said since there was a warrant out, they had no choice but to send out an officer to arrest me and that if I had kids, I should arrange for a babysitter. He asked if by any chance, was I there alone?

And what do you think I said?

Yup. I admitted I was home alone with my kids.

Rachel from Friends saying You Idiot reaction GIF
Rachel's right. I AM an idiot.

The caller said something I don't remember, pertaining to the fact that officers were on their way to arrest me and hung up.

I sat there, with the crap scared out of me, thinking I'm about to be arrested for writing non-existent bad checks.

Meanwhile, I still was wondering who the poor sap was who had died and had my phone number in his pocket.

Now might be a good time to point out that I didn't just go around, all willy-nilly handing out my phone number to every guy I met.

I know that's hard to believe, given all the other information I so freely gave the collect caller, but really...I didn't.

Finally, I decided it was time to call my boyfriend (my now hubby) and let him know what had happened and that if he didn't hear from me for a few days, it was because I was in jail.

I rattled off the events, clearly upset, and he said, "Lock the door, don't answer the phone, don't answer the door. Don't DO ANYTHING. I'm coming over."

That made me feel a little better. Maybe he could vouch for me when the police came to take me away.

The phone rang again, and I answered (Yeah, that not listening to hubby thing continues to this day).

It was the same guy. This time he said that if I would be so kind as to give him my bank account information in order for them to be able to verify that the bad checks were not actually mine, then we could get this whole messy matter cleaned up in a few minutes.

Woman saying Yeah Right reaction GIF
Yeah, Riiiight.

At last, a red flag was raised in my trusting brain.

I might have been born in the dark, but it weren't yesterday. This may surprise you, given all of the other details I so readily proffered, but I DID know enough not to give out my bank account information.

I was one sharp cookie and they weren't gonna pull a fast one on me, no sirreee. I would proceed with caution now. I was onto them.

At this point, I finally asked for the officer's name.

He said Mehoff (I heard it with the h).

I said, "Officer Mehoff?"

He said yes.

Do you know what I said next?  It was what any sharp, not born in the dark, street-wise person would have said:

"What's your first name?"

To which he replied, "Jack."

I dutifully wrote it down. Last name, Meehoff. First name, Jack. Got it.

Really? Reaction GIF
Really? You idiot trusting're still not getting this? Said a snarky inner voice that I wasn't listening to.

I informed the gentleman that I would have to call him back after I verified the information.

After I hung up the phone, my now-husband-then-boyfriend arrived. I breathlessly related the events, quite proud of myself that I had asked for the name of the officer. I showed him the piece of paper where I had carefully written it down.

My husband tells me still to this day, that it was at that moment he knew he must marry me. He all at once felt it his obligation to protect me from the world. I'm not sure if that's a nice way of saying he pitied me or not...but here we are.

He said, "Honey, read the name, first name, then last name."

I replied, "Jack Mehoff."

He said, in an incredulous tone, "Honey?"

I read it again, "Jack Me...oh."

Jack. Me. Off.


And to think if it weren't for my now-husband-then-boyfriend's arrival at that moment, I would have actually called the police department and asked if they had an officer by that name.

Brad Pitt from Burn After Reading, on phone laughing, reaction GIF
"Can I help you?" "Yes, Jack Meoff, please."

"Officer Mehoff" called one more time. This time, Fred answered in his "We ain't f*ckin' 'round no mo' " voice.

Big dude threatening reaction GIF
Yeah, that's right. You BEST hang up, you white punk sissy ass.

Needless to say, at the sound of an intelligent, male, threatening voice, the caller hung up and never called back.

No cops came to arrest me. Big surprise.

I didn't have a cell phone back then, so I had to wait until the phone bill came in the mail to see where the call came from.

It was a Kentucky prison.

And to add insult to injury, I was charged for the call!

I called the prison and told them what happened and the date and time of the call and they said they had records to see who was using the phone at that time and he would be reprimanded.

Take that, JACK!

Actually, I don't know what "reprimanded" meant. When the convict told the story of how gullible I was, they probably all had a good laugh, including the prison guards.

I filed a police report about the incident. It was a little embarrassing to explain to the officer taking my complaint that although I was familiar with the term "Jack Meoff", to hear it last name first just didn't click in my brain.

Somewhere in a cell in a Kentucky prison there's  a beady-eyed inmate named Bubba just waiting to get out so he can come visit me because I was nice enough to give him my name and address.

Comic of convict in prison looking through a phone book.
Bubba AKA Officer Jack Mehoff
So, my friends, the lessons learned here is this: Don't accept a collect call from a prison unless you actually know someone in prison.

Also, anything you do that's this stupid will forever be fodder for your spouse to use against you. Anytime I want to give someone the benefit of the doubt, my husband says, "Remember Jack Mehoff?"

I will never. live. this down.

I Don't Know Jack, But He Knows Me. A warning blog post about telephone scams.
If you like it, put a pin in it! That means...please pin on Pinterest!

This enlightening story is actually a slightly modified excerpt from an equally riveting, but slightly longer story I wrote back in 2011, when someone stole my credit card information. You can read the full post here, if you are so inclined.


P.S. This post is brought to you by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop and the prompt: Write about a time you were tricked. Also brought to you by the Friday Frivolity link up over at Devastate Boredom and the Blogger Pit Stop.

Oh, and if you liked this story, please share it on Facebook! My stupidity might help someone else feel better about themselves.

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