An urgent phone call from the police is something we hope to never experience. But when one woman received a daunting phone call informing her that she owed hundreds of dollars, she didn’t expect what would happen next…
A normal life
The woman in question was Cara O’Conner, who lived in Holladay, Utah. Cara lived a normal life, with a normal job and a normal house – and had never been in trouble with the law before. However, one phone call would soon change everything.
One August evening
In August 2017, Cara O’Conner experienced something completely out of the ordinary. One afternoon, she missed a call from an unusual number. She could not answer the phone at the time, so let the call just go through to her voicemail. Later, when she was able to finally listen to the voicemail – she was left completely dumbfounded. The unknown caller had been from the local police department, and the voicemail message had left Cara overcome with dread.
The voicemail message was supposedly from a police officer by the name of Sgt. Scott Smith, from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The man on the phone was incredibly professional and seemed entirely legitimate. He noted that he was looking to get into contact with a certain Cara O’Conner, and would like her to ring the number back at her earliest convenience. Cara stared at her phone for a few minutes, unable to comprehend what she had just heard.
After a while, the voicemail message seemed to sink in – but instead of ringing the number back immediately, Cara went into panic mode. Her mind went into overdrive thinking of all of the things that could have happened. Had one of her family members were hurt? Had she done something wrong? Had they been given the wrong information? Cara became increasingly worried for the safety and well-being of her family and friends and knew she had return the phone call.
Nothing she had done
While she waited for the call to connect, Cara began to wonder if she was in trouble. She tried to wrack her brains and look back to see if she had broken the law or took part in any misdemeanors. However, she had always respected the laws and always abided by the rules and regulations of the town, the state, and the country. She knew she had not done anything – which is why the next phone call shocked her even more…
Returning the phone call
As soon as the call connected, Cara found herself on the phone to the supposed Sgt. Scott Smith – and he broke some devastating news. According to the police officer, Cara had been previously conscripted for court duty. However, she had failed to turn up. The police officer then notified her that, because she had failed to answer her summons, there were currently two warrants out for her arrest. At that moment, Cara had absolutely no idea what to think.
Didn’t believe him
At first, Cara didn’t believe what the Sgt. was telling her. She had always kept up to date with all of her correspondences and letters that came through her door and knew she did not receive any letter asking her to attend jury duty. She tried to tell the Sgt. that there must have been some kind of mistake and that there couldn’t be any warrant out for her arrest because she had done nothing wrong. However, the Sgt. believed differently…
She was skeptical
Although Cara believed the whole thing to be fake, she couldn’t help but wonder whether it was all real. Nevertheless, she tried to ignore the initial phone call – but Sgt. Scott Smith wasn’t going to let her go easily. Over the next few days, he continued to call her phone and tried to get into contact with her. When Cara did not answer, he then called her brother-in-law and other members of her family. Cara was perturbed by the whole situation.
In the end, Cara knew she had no choice but to answer the phone to Sgt. Scott again. This time, the Sgt. was armed with more information to prove his case. He happened to know her full name, her birth date, her address, the name of her husband and her previous address. Cara didn’t know how anyone else would know all of this information and begrudgingly came to the conclusion that he must be from the police department.
However, if the supposed Sgt. Scott Smith was from the police department, and what he was saying was all real – that meant that Cara really had violated her court order, and had missed her summons for jury duty. Cara had never been one to break the law or go against anything asked of her, which scared her to no end. It soon dawned on her that she really could be arrested, but she vowed to do anything she could to resolve the issue.
Asking the question
So, Cara decided to ask Sgt. Smith the question – was there anything she could do to avoid getting arrested? For her, the incident had been an honest mistake she had been oblivious to, and she did not want to go to jail. The Sgt. maintained that she had indeed broken the law, but she could pay two fines to make the arrest warrants go away if she wanted. These fines would set her back a whopping $900.
How to pay
As she asked more about the fines, Cara was given very detailed and strict instructions. To give herself a better chance of freedom, she would need to pay the fines immediately – but not in cash. Instead, she was instructed to withdraw the $900 in cash from the bank, and then take herself over to the local Rite Aid store to buy $900 worth of treasury vouchers. Eager to resolve the situation once and for all, Cara complied.
At Rite Aid
As soon as Cara heard the instructions, she drove down to the nearest Rite Aid store and asked the cashier for the treasury vouchers. However, she couldn’t believe what happened next. As soon as the cashier saw what Cara was attempting to buy, she stopped her in her tracks. With $900 in her hand, Cara didn’t know what to do. Why was the cashier telling her to put down the vouchers and leave the store? What was going on?
You’re being scammed
Cara questioned the cashier and wondered why she couldn’t just pay for her purchase. However, the cashier looked at her with a serious expression and simply said, ‘You’re being scammed.’ As Cara looked quizzically at the woman in front of her, the cashier gave a better explanation. She told Cara that as soon as she walked out of the store, she would get a phone call from the supposed Sgt. Smith, asking for the numbers on the treasury vouchers.
She knew about the scam
The cashier continued to warn Cara about the scam and persuaded her not to buy the vouchers or give the supposed Sgt. Smith any more information about herself or the money. Thankfully, the cashier had been aware of the scam and had been on hand to stop Cara from gifting nearly one thousand dollars to a complete stranger posing as the law. Cara couldn’t believe what she was hearing, and wanted to confront her scammer…
Giving him a call
So, Cara called the supposed Sgt. Smith back on her mobile, and confronted him about the supposed violated court order, the fines, the money, and the treasury vouchers – but before she got an answer, the scammer hung up on her. As soon as Cara heard the beeping, she knew she had had a lucky escape. She had managed to keep her money, all thanks to a helpful shop worker who had heard reports about the scam.
Calling the police
Although Cara was shocked and saddened by what she had nearly got herself into, she knew she had to do something about it so that other people wouldn’t fall victim to his schemes. So, Cara called the real police department at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office and made them aware of what had happened to her, and what could potentially happen to other people. However, this wasn’t new information to the cops. In fact, they had heard it all before…
Immediately, the police recognized that Cara had fallen prey to a scam – but this wasn’t the first time they had heard the story. That same day, the police department had received 16 calls from people who had had similar voicemail messages and phone calls from someone who claimed they had broken the law and would need to pay a fine to get them out of trouble. Although she felt silly, Cara was glad she wasn’t the only one to fall for the scammer.
One key detail
After a lengthy discussion with police officers, Cara realized that she had been the victim of a scam just like many other people that day – but thankfully, the scam had been stopped at just the right time, and she was able to keep a hold of her money. The police then gave Cara some advice on how to spot scammers, including one key detail. The detail? The police would never ask anyone for money over the phone.
After her ordeal, Cara took her story to the local news station and posted her ordeal on social media. Although she had almost lost money at the hands of a scammer and a predator, she had been stopped in the nick of time. There may be others who aren’t so lucky. So, she has since used her experience to help others see the signs of a scammer – especially the one she had dealt with. Hopefully, she will never fall prey again.