Good readers of Barstool Sports,
I've decided to use this massive platform for good today and spread awareness about a truly horrifying scam that is going around the country so that you all can hopefully avoid falling victim to the monsters of the world who are weaponizing our beloved smartphones against us.
Recently, I woke up at 6am per usual and grabbed my phone so I could start my day by mindlessly scrolling twitter, instagram, and tiktok so I could hate myself before my feet even hit the floor. On this particular morning I noticed I had two missed calls at 11:56 and 11:58pm from my younger sister. This was weird because she never calls me even during waking hours so a call in the middle of the night must have been so sort of emergency.
I called her immediately, she answered, voice trembling, but she said that everything was fine and everyone was safe and she asked me to turn the music down so she could tell me what happened. I said, that there was no music playing and she hung up instantly. Her phone had been hacked.
Those missed calls I had weren't from her, but were from hackers who got access somehow through magic (software?) and managed to call people in her phone from…her phone.
Now, I always have notifications off so slept right through the missed calls. My parents did not. When they answered the call from my sister they were greeted by two men shouting and demanding money as a woman screamed in the background. They threatened to "fuck this bitch up" unless my mom sent them $500 immediately.
When this story was first relayed to me I thought "God DAMN…that is insulting. If you are going to try to fake hold me hostage you better be demanding more than 500 fucking dollars". In this economy, with inflation, I like to think that my life is worth at least $1000. Had I answered the phone I probably would've laughed in their face and then just paid them their pittance for my sister's life. $500 can't buy you shit these days, but it can save my sister's life apparently.
Anyways, my mom isn't nearly as stupid as me so she ran mental circles around these assholes. First, she told them my sister lives less than 10 minutes from her (which is true) and that she was going over there to fuck them up. My mom is over 60, but I think she probably would've fucked them up in a fight. When they said they'd kill my sister if she did that my mom stalled and talked about payment apps like she was this feeble old lady while my dad called the police from his phone. She said she didn't have vinmo. She doesn't know what the CashApp is. She couldn't find her glasses (she doesn't wear glasses). She kept these psychos on the phone for 22 minutes with delays, threats, bargaining, and playing dumb until the police could get to my sister's house. Once the police arrived and told my sister and my brother-in-law the situation my sister called my mom who was still on the phone with the "kidnappers". Being on the phone with kidnappers using your daughter's phone and then having an incoming call from…your daughter's phone must've been a surreal moment of relief that I can't even imagine. My sister let her know that there was nobody in the house, nobody had her phone, and there was no danger. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief even if it took their heart rate another 24 hours to slow down.
This exact same scam happened to a friend of mine as well. In his situation he got a call "from his mom" and he ended up paying the ransom to a random venmo account. Police reports filed, but money lost, psychological damage done, and the perpetrators disappear into a digital abyss with no trace and no chance of catching them.
Two times in my immediate circle is a trend and I figured I'd use this massive platform arm all of you with the information needed to protect yourselves and your loved ones so it doesn't happen to you. The lesson here is to be like my mom and just go all momma bear over the phone and then delay until the authorities can check out the situation. I hope this doesn't happen to anyone else, but if it does now you know what to do.