NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A Norman mother is recovering after receiving a terrifying call that her son was in danger.
“It was torture,” said Brandi Anthony.
A week ago, Anthony’s 60-year-old mother got a call from a stranger who said Anthony’s son was in danger. So, Anthony’s mom handed her the phone.
“He tells me that he’s got my son and that my son crossed his path at the wrong time and that he’s kept him from delivering a very, very important load,” said Anthony. “He needs his money and he needs it quick or he’s going to kill my son.”
“If I hung up, he would blow my son’s head off,” Anthony said after News 4 asked her if she called her son to verify.
Anthony said she had no time to think. She only had time to follow the stranger’s orders to go to the bank. The scammer said her son had cost them $6,000.
To convince Anthony the situation was real, she said they put an imposter on the line.
“[He] had my son’s voice and everything, and he was crying, hysterical. He didn’t know what to do. And I said, ‘Son, you need to calm down. You have to calm down!'” she said.
Anthony now believes the scammers used AI technology or some sort of program to clone her son’s voice.
Anthony claims the scammer ordered her to keep the call going and hide the phone in her shirt as she went into a local Walmart.
“I walked into Western Union. He told me to send it to ‘Mexico Federal District’ something,” she said.
Brandi said she was instructed to go in twice, ultimately sending $3,000 to the con artist. She said he made her tear up one receipt by the phone’s receiver to hear. She kept the pieces.
“I cried. I said, ‘I sent you the money. Are you going to deliver my son?'” said Anthony. “[They] put Caleb on the phone. I said, ‘Caleb, are they letting you go there?’ ‘They let me go mom. They let me go!’ and then the phone gets hung up.”
The scammer told Anthony he’d bring her son to Walmart’s parking lot. After driving around, for what felt like an eternity, she couldn’t find him. After constantly calling her son, he called her back. He was fine and at work the whole time.
“They had just enough information to keep me going, to keep, you know, keep me believing them,” said Anthony.
That night, Anthony was exhausted. She fell asleep waiting for a call back from Norman Police. The next day she filed an incident report.
“I feel dumb. I feel violated. I feel disturbed that people are actually out there doing this. It bothers me,” said Anthony.
Anthony said she wished someone would have noticed something was wrong while she was taking out and sending the money.
Western Union told News 4 if you believe you’ve been scammed, call the Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492, you can also file a fraud complaint, and report the fraud to authorities.
Western Union sent News 4 the following statement:
“Consumer fraud is an issue that impacts the entire financial services industry.
“Money transfer is a great way to send money quickly and conveniently to friends and loved ones. However, consumer-to-consumer money transfer services should only be used to send money to people you have met in person and trust.
“Western Union takes the issue of consumer protection very seriously. We care about people who use our services—they work hard for their money, which is why we work hard to educate them about various types of consumer fraud and how to help protect themselves.”