It happens to us on the regular -- more than likely, on the daily. Our phone rings and the Caller ID lists it as an unknown number, or better yet, "POSSIBLE SPAM." Sometimes we ignore it, sometimes we pick it up and have some fun, or sometimes we pick it up unsure if it's an important phone call we're expecting.
On the other end of that call? Someone telling us our car's warranty is about to run out. Or better yet, someone calling from the IRS telling us we haven't paid our taxes and we're going to jail. And again, we either just laugh it off or get annoyed, but move on with our lives.
But what happened on Tuesday night was actually terrifying, when you think about it.
Sometime between 5p and 6p on Tuesday night, phones, televisions, and radios -- anything capable of picking up and broadcasting an Amber Alert -- loudly went off, as an Amber Alert had been initiated in Manchester.
Televisions flashed that a child had been abducted. The apparent story of the Amber Alert issued was that a mother and her son were both missing, but WMUR reported the mother and child were both found safe, and the entire Amber Alert was triggered by a scam call.
Manchester Police told WMUR that a scammer called the family and reported that both the mother and child were in danger, and demanded money for their safe return. Obviously, the family member called the police and that's why anyone in the area received an Amber Alert.
But think about it -- how TERRIFYING is it that just based on a robocall list, any of us could be the subject of this. Anyone would seemingly do anything for their family members and ensuring their safety, and yet here are scammers using that against us. And the best piece of advice that's been offered to us so far?
"Slow down, put your phone number on the do not call list, that stops and prevents a lot of these robocalls. When you get these, hang up." That's what a retired New Hampshire State Police major told WMUR. Which, yes, is a great precaution -- but that's it?
It's 2021. People have created self-propelled jet packs to hover above water. We put a person on the moon over 50 years ago. We have pretty clear pictures of Mars from upclose. We walk around with little computers in our pockets that double-serve as the phones that we get these scam calls on in the first place, and THAT'S the best we can do?
The fact that an Amber Alert can be triggered off of a robocall/scam call should be a much bigger deal than just making sure your number is on the do not call list. And hopefully this fake Amber Alert -- something that is supposed to help us save the life of someone abducted -- is a huge wake up call on finding a way to end scam calls once and for all.