‘What If This Happened to You?’ Megyn Offers a Word of Warning After Her Family Was Nearly Conned Out of $17,000

The date was January 22, 2021. Much of the world was still shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Megyn, Doug, and the kids were still living in Manhattan, and they were getting ready to travel south for the weekend for her nephew’s wedding. 

As Megyn was packing up that Friday, Doug called to relay that he had just heard from his then-84-year-old mother Jackie in Philadelphia. She had received a disturbing phone call from her daughter – Doug’s sister – Diane. 

Diane and her partner Brad are oyster fishermen on Cape Cod, and, according to the call, they were both in jail on the island after getting in a car accident. Diane claimed she needed money for bail and gave her mom the number of her court-appointed lawyer to discuss details and payment. 

Given that it is ‘Fraud Week’ on The Megyn Kelly Show, it should come as no surprise that this turned out to be a scam targeting an elderly woman (Megyn’s mother in law). But the reality is Megyn and Doug nearly fell for it as well. On Friday’s episode, Megyn opened up about what happened and how they figured out it was a con, and she also offered a word of caution to all those listening.

The Phone Call

As Jackie recalled, she received a phone call from a woman who sounded like her daughter. “She was hysterically sobbing and couldn’t complete a full sentence,” she recounted. “But she said that she was in jail on a drunk driving charge and that I needed to talk to somebody, she had a telephone number, and they were going to talk to me about getting bail.”

Diane and Brad had apparently been in an accident on Cape Cod, and Diane broke her nose. The police were called to the scene and arrested her on a suspected drunk driving charge. Brad, meanwhile, was supposedly cuffed for an altercation with cops.

Jackie said she kept asking the woman on the phone if she was alright, and she just kept saying she was scared and didn’t have a lot of time. The court allegedly was closing early due to COVID-19 protocols, so bail was needed ASAP.

When Jackie called the number she was provided, a man corroborated the story about the arrest and court hours. Jackie also confronted him with an inconvenient truth about her daughter: She doesn’t drink alcohol. 

Quick on his feet, the attorney responded that Diane had told him that and he ordered a toxicology report to prove it. The results were pending and, in the meantime, bail was set for a total of $17,000. “I said, ‘Well, I just don’t have that kind of cash. I don’t have that kind of money to give you. I’m going to call my son,'” Jackie recalled.

The Shifting Story

That is when Doug and Megyn got looped in. After talking to his mom and calling Megyn, Doug got the alleged lawyer on the phone and was told much of the same. The $17,000 in cash was needed within two hours’ time, which was not going to be feasible given that none of them lived nearby.

Doug decided to call Steve, one of Diane and Brad’s friends on the Cape, for assistance. He said he was in to deliver the money to the lawyer’s office – until the attorney changed his tune. He suddenly claimed he was traveling and wouldn’t be around to receive it. Instead, he suggested crypto currency.

If the alarm bells are now going off in your head, they should be. Megyn and Doug thought it was strange as well, so the attorney suggested they call the court for clarification. He gave them a phone number, which they used, and were told crypto was being accepted due to the COVID protocols and schedule. 

In reality, none of these people or numbers were who they claimed to be. ‘Diane,’ the attorney, and the court employee were all playing a role in the con.

Steve Saves the Day

One thing Megyn and Doug never thought to do amidst the chaos was try calling Diane or Brad. They just assumed Jackie had really spoken to her daughter. But Steve was growing suspicious.

At one point, he spoke to the lawyer on the phone himself in an effort to coordinate the cash drop-off. The attorney claimed to be a local, but Steve didn’t think he sounded like one. The biggest tell? He mispronounced the town this was all allegedly taking place in, Barnstable. 

Steve wisely decided to drive over to Diane and Brad’s house to confirm they were not home. On the way, he called their landline. Much to everyone’s surprise, Diane answered the phone and said they had been there the whole time. “Diane and Brad are safe, no one has handed over any money, and Steve saved the day,” Megyn said.

Caught in the Act

With that settled, Megyn and Doug decided to “have some fun” with the fraudster. She called ‘Paul the attorney’ herself with some questions about how to facilitate the bitcoin transaction. They spoke for over six minutes, with her catching him in several lies along the way.

While he never admitted to the con and Megyn never explicitly called him out on it, he eventually hung up on her, never to be heard from again. 

Former NYPD Bill Stanton told Megyn these types of frauds are frighteningly common and complex. “My guess is it’s a cooperative,” he explained. “There is a whole team and these guys work remotely. They are given a packet, like a media packet, with this is what you’re talking on today. You’ve been through these calls, so you know 90 percent of the questions they are going to ask and you already have the answer.”

As a result, he said no one is truly safe from falling prey. “There is no socioeconomic intelligence quotient that makes you immune,” he confirmed. “It’s been my experience that sometimes the smarter you are, you’re so confident in who you are you think, ‘Well, this would never happen to me; I would be able to disseminate the BS.’ And yet they hit that ‘pay’ button sooner than anyone.”

Megyn’s Message

With that in mind, Megyn had a message for all those watching and listening who either experienced something like this or don’t think they ever will:

“There are words of caution in this story for everyone… We decided to tell you the story – even though we knew you might mock us a little – because we want to help others and we learned a lot ourselves.

What if this happened to your mom or to you? Now you’ll know. If we hadn’t told the story, you might not know. Maybe you would be hoodwinked. I don’t know. It could happen. Trust me.

Sadly, there are fraudsters out there working hard every day to steal your money or something precious and most of these never see the light of day. They just happen privately because people are too embarrassed to talk about it. They are humiliated, and I get it. But there is no reason to be humiliated.

If you get defrauded by one of these losers – or almost defrauded, in our case – what does it say about you? It says you believe in human nature. You believe in others. You probably have a kind heart. You are probably a trusting soul. Those are not bad things. But a slightly jaded, trusting soul? I think that is what we are going for. 

That is why we shared, and that is why we hope everybody listens and talks about these kinds of things more and more. We can help each other.”

You can check out Megyn’s full fraud story by tuning in to episode 818 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.