For starters, go here for verification of an actual FBI agent or other federal agents.
This is a rather convoluted situation that I was involved with almost two years ago, so here is the basic run-down:
On January 5, 2019, after returning home from work, I noticed a business card wedged between the screen door. I lived in an isolated area a good 5-10 miles from any highway. The card appeared to be an FBI business card. I took a look at it after going inside and immediately realized something was odd. I have handled thousands of business in my life. I have interacted with military, FBI, Secret Service agents, and detectives numerous times during my years as a reporter and throughout my life. I know how to identify a fake business card.
The basic information on the card appeared legitimate as with reference to the local office in Knoxville, Tennessee. However, on the back, a handwritten note was added requesting to call a certain FBI agent. The agent shall remain nameless to protect identity. The number was not the main office number. The coloring and paper stock was not consistent with an FBI card and appeared amatuerish in design like printing off at a Kinkos. Sure enough it was.
The following day, I called the field office in Knoxville asking to speak to this particular agent. The lady who answered the call either hung up or referred to the answering machine which may have been some sort of caller ID.
That night, I did receive a call from a scammer number in Southern California. The following week, I received a call from another scammer number in Southern California. I checked both numbers with the Department of Consumer Affairs. Combined, these numbers had around 14,000 complaints filed against them.
That Friday, while at work, I was notified by a manager that several men were here to see me. So I went to the meeting room area. I entered the room where there were two men present. They haphazardly displayed their fake FBI badges (again I know what a genuine badge looks like). One was around 50, portly build, greasy, combed back hair and goatee. He had on casual clothes that were more appropiate for warmer months. East Tennessee in winter is not like Southern California BTW. The younger man was around 30, wore glasses and dressed business casual.
My first thought was how did they know I worked here? I drove the backroads to get to work. So the only explanation was that they sat outside my residence all night and then followed me to work or they used a GPS tracking device. I checked my vehicle after this meeting and no device was present. So they obviously followed me.
So, we sat down facing each other. The older man, passing himself as the Knoxville FBI agent then immediately slipped up. He claimed he was with the Boston field office. I put on my acting skills and played dumb. The more he talked, the more he unwittingly exposed himself as a fraud. He claimed he was a Red Sox fan. Well, I am a Mets fan. Yet he acted like he didn’t know the Red Sox loss the 1986 World Series. He also didn’t know what Ted Williams batting average was in 1941.
While going to great lengths to cover up the actual reason for wanting to see me, he tried to claim that the Boston FBI office wanted to see me regarding unspecified matter involving a defense contractor called Raytheon. The younger guy didn’t talk much. But when he did talk, he seemed to have a hang-up about Baptists. Well, in East Tennessee, there are a bunch of Baptist I thought to myself. He also posed a strange line of questioning about whether it was okay for men to look at Playboy or if it was okay for women to look at Playgirl or male strippers. I thought “Where is he going with this?”
They then diverge into chit-chat about Donald Trump. They spoke in broken sentences and thus incoherent as to what exactly they were wanting with regards to Trump or what that has to do with me. Looking back on it, they were attempting to shake me down possibly to use me as a patsy in some set-up.
I asked about Raytheon. I was vaguely familiar with the name. As it turns out, I had posted an article on Raytheon with regards to missile strikes in April, 2017. I commented that firing missiles into an empty desert much of military activity was a racket so they can then turn around and sell more weapons to the Pentagon. Perhaps beginning around late 2018, either an employee or executive saw my post online and obviously didn’t like it. After all, to contact and then pay for two big time scammers to come all the way from California to Tennessee to shake me down over a social media post is a bit bizarre. That includes paying for hotel, rental cars and fake cards.
So I decided to turn the table on them. I told them I suspected they were trying to shake me down possibly to get me involved in some assassination attempt against President Trump. I would have done the same thing if it involved any other president too regardless of whether or not I agreed with their policies.
I also told them I felt it was my civic duty to report this to the Secret Service. I then stood up and walked out of the room. I didn’t hear from these two individuals again.