Text asks: ‘How do I clean up all this blood?’

Lake Okeechobee News
Imagine the thoughts running through the mind of the man who received a text stating, “There’s a body in the tub. How do I clean up all the blood?”

On Wednesday, June 12, the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office that one of their citizens had reported receiving the text. Deputy Cook from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said they traced the number to an address in Okeechobee. He said the person in Polk County did not recognize the name or the number and claimed the text was sent without provocation.

OCSO Deputy Tyler Ott proceeded to the address provided by Deputy Cook and, when he arrived, the homeowner agreed to allow him inside. Deputy Ott reported finding no sign of blood or a body in the tub. When he asked the resident about the text, he was told he had sent the text as a reply to a telemarketer or scammer, and that he has it set as an auto reply for just such an occasion. He said he has been getting a lot of annoying calls lately and he would block them and then send the text. He admitted he had gotten one of those calls from a spoofed number earlier and replied with that text. When Deputy Ott checked the phone, he did find those words as an ignore with text option.

Deputy Ott explained that it would be in his best interest not to send texts like that again and talked about number spoofing. It may seem as though a certain number is calling you when in reality, you are being called from a completely different number. The man said he understood and would delete it from his phone.

According to Lifewire Cyber Security, this is how Spoofing works — the person (scammer) who wants to conceal his number logs in at a third-party spoofing service provider website and submits payment information.

Once logged in to the site, the scammer provides his real phone number. He then enters the phone number of the person (victim) he is calling and provides the fake information that he wants the caller ID to display.

The spoofing service calls the scammer back at the provided phone number, calls the intended victim’s number, and bridges the calls together along with the spoofed caller ID information. The victims see the fake Caller ID information as they pick up the phone and are connected to the scammer.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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