Father of U.S. Marine gets scam call telling him his son is dead

U.S. & World

FILE – In this Oct. 24, 2013, file photo, a person checks their smartphone in Glenview, Ill. A mysterious wave of texts swept America’s phones overnight Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019, delivering unintelligible messages that left many people mildly confused when they woke up on Thursday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

FARGO, N.D. (WTVO) — The father of a marine received a phone call telling him his son was killed while on active duty. It turned out the call was a scam.

John Stautz told KVLY he received a call from a private number, telling him that his son was dead.

He said he was from the United States Marine Corps and that my son had been killed in live fire practice,” says Stautz. “They wanted to know when and where I wanted him buried and how soon and then they would call me back.”

Stautz said the caller asked for his Social Security number to verify it was his son. While still trying to grasp what he had just heard, Stautz says he gave it out.

“I started thinking this is kind of odd because I’ve seen it where the military comes to your door, not call you on the phone,” says Stautz.

Ultimately, phone calls between family members revealed that Stautz’s son was still alive and was okay.

Bess Ellenson, from the Better Business Bureau, says scam calls like this are not uncommon.

“Unfortunately, these scams tend to work because the scammer on the other side ends up instilling fear in the person that they’re calling,” she said.

The BBB says the best way to avoid scam calls is to not answer calls from any number you don’t know.

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