COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — It was around noon on a typical day for Camille Habayeb, when he got a call on his personal cell phone.
“The lady said, ‘Is this Mr. Habayeb?’ I said, ‘Yes,'” said Habayeb. “‘I need to find out when you will be home, so that I can drop off an envelope for you, but I need a signature from you.'”
Habayeb said the caller didn’t offer any other details, but did give him a phone number for a law firm. “They answered with the name of the law firm,” Habayeb said.
Habayeb gave his name, explained why he called, and was asked to provide some personal information. “‘I don’t want you to give me your social security number, but give me the last four digits of your social security number.’ So, I gave him that,” said Habayeb. “When I finished giving him the four, he read the entire social security number for me.”
Then, Habayeb said the man told him what the earlier call was about. “‘You are being subpoenaed to go to court, because you have defaulted on a loan from 2016 with Community Bank. $9,000 to $13,000 might be the judgment against you.'”
But Habayeb said the “firm” offered a deal — pay $4,000 by 4 p.m. and consider it settled. “‘We accept either Visa or credit card, and we will not take routing numbers of a checking account,'” Habayeb said the caller told him. Otherwise, the firm would start contacting Habayeb’s family.
“And he listed the name of my wife, the names of my two children, the names of my brothers who live overseas,” said Habayeb. “Immediately in my mind it’s like, ‘What the heck is that!'” That’s when Habayeb said something clicked.
“I said, ‘Listen. I don’t want to demean you or anything, but it sounds like this is a scam.'” Habayeb went with his gut, hung up, and called the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
“And I told them what happened. And she says, ‘Absolutely not. This is a scam.'” Habayeb said he didn’t call back, and once he was able to look at the situation, he remembered something — “I’ve never had a loan from anybody,” Habayeb said.
But Habayeb said the scammers made him panic and feel that he had to act. A feeling he doesn’t want anyone else to give into.
“There are people who are vulnerable,” said Habayeb. “They don’t understand. So, I felt it was my obligation to tell you the story, to use it as an alert to others.”
Habayeb told Better Call 4 that when he did not call the scammers back, they called his home, and contacted one of his sons. No one responded and they haven’t heard from them since.
As far as how the callers got all of that information, Habayeb said the Attorney General’s Office told him that information is out there, and fraudsters are able to find it and connect the dots. The office urged Habayeb to call the Social Security Administration, as well as his financial institutions, to put fraud alerts on his accounts — something you may want to consider doing, too.