The Time I Called the FBI
I used to work as a supervisor in a call center that handled inbound customer service calls for a major printing company.
I arrived at work one morning and was quickly greeted by one of my call center agents who said she received a call from the FBI earlier that morning. The FBI Agent stated we were involved with fraudulent emails being sent to customers of a bank on the East coast.
I got settled in at my desk and immediately pulled up the call and listened to it. The FBI Agent was clearly upset as he related that he had received a call from the bank manager stating that his customers were receiving emails asking them for personal information. The FBI Agent also stated that the emails being sent happened to list our 1-800 number as the customer service number for said customers to call. Flustered, my call center agent denied any and all involvement. The FBI Agent was unrelenting however, and refused to believe that our company was legitimate.
I was on a mission to clear all confusion and let the bank and the FBI know that our company had no involvement and were also victims in this scam.
Unfortunately, the FBI Agent was abrupt when he hung up, yelling "we're going to get you!" and failed to leave his contact information. He did, however, mention the name of the bank. So I looked up the contact information for the bank, called, and asked to speak with the President, the man who originally made the complaint to the FBI.
The bank President explained the scam and said he was concerned with our company because our number was used. I countered that we were a legitimate national company and are in no way involved with the scam. I then asked if I could have the number for the FBI agent he talked to so I could call him back and clear our name with them as well. Although he couldn't remember the name of the agent he spoke with, he did offer the number for his local FBI office that he'd called. We ended the conversation pleasantly with the exchange of phone numbers and promises of communication if further information manifested.
I then dialed the FBI Office:
"Federal Bureau of Investigation, can I help you?"
"Hi, I'm calling because our company's phone number was used in a banking email scam and the bank President had called you earlier and said we were involved. I just wanted to call to let you know that we are a legitimate company and are no way involved."
"Hold please while I transfer you to an agent."
:::: .............. tick tock............::::
"Hi this is Special Agent FBIGuy"
"Hi, my name is Sidreis and I'm calling because a bank President in your area had called you guys earlier and reported our company as being involved in an email scam with his bank customers. I'm kind of returning your guys' call since we received a call from you guys this morning after the bank President called you."
"I didn't call you"
"Um, well maybe you didn't, but the FBI Agent that took the complaint did."
"I am the FBI Agent that took the complaint and I didn't call you, I haven't had time to look at the case yet."
:::: awkward pause ::::
"Oh, well, that's weird, because we did receive a call this morning from someone claiming to be the FBI. I have it recorded, I just barely listened to it."
"What number called you?"
"Oh. Um. Let me check. It's xxx-xxx-xxxx"
"That's the number of the bank"
:::: holy crap ::::
"Um, ya, you're right it is"
"So they for sure said they were from the FBI?"
"Yes, I have it recorded.... he identifies himself as an FBI Agent, that's why I've been so persistent to get this cleared up."
"I'm going to call the bank and have a talk with the bank President."
Ten minutes later....
"Hi this is Sidreis"
"Hi this is the bank President."
"I just wanted to call and apologize. I messed up big time. It wasn't the FBI that called you this morning. It was me. I called and said I was the FBI because I thought you were part of the scam and I wanted to scare you. I didn't realize you were a victim in all of this too. The FBI just called me and they are on their way down to my bank right now to investigate me. They said I could be arrested for impersonating a Federal Agent."
::: Oops :::
So that's my story of the time I talked to an FBI Agent. One of the coolest moments of my life since I'm completely obsessed with FBI Investigations.
There are a few lessons to be learned from this experience:
1. Don't assume
2. Be honest
3. Never EVER impersonate an FBI agent