Megyn Kelly and her family share how they were nearly duped out of $17k: ‘You might mock us a little…’

A cautionary tale to conclude “Fraud Week” had Megyn Kelly inviting her own family on her program to detail how they’d nearly been “hoodwinked” out of nearly $20,000.

“…we decided to tell you the story — even though we knew you might mock us a little…”

(Video Credit: The Megyn Kelly Show)

In a world where artificial intelligence and deepfakes have brought no end of trouble in discerning the authenticity of images and soundbites, the host of “The Megyn Kelly Show” recounted Friday that old-school cons could still dupe the savvy in the modern era.

With appearances that included: her husband, Doug Brunt; her then-84-year-old mother-in-law, Jackie; as well as Doug’s sister, Diane, and her partner, Brad, Kelly’s family detailed how on Jan. 22, 2021, when COVID madness was still sweeping the Northeast, a series of phone calls nearly had her handing over $17,000.

“There are words of caution in this story for everyone… What if this happened to your mom or you? Now you’ll know,” expressed the host after firsthand accounts had started with Jackie’s tale of getting a call from a woman she thought was her daughter.

According to Kelly’s family, the woman claiming to be Diane had said that she and Brad had been arrested on Cape Cod after a car accident landed her with a broken nose and a drunk driving charge while he was allegedly locked up for being aggressive with the arresting officers.

Diane was provided the phone number to a supposed court-appointed attorney who informed her that bail for the couple had been set at $17,000 and if it wasn’t submitted soon, the court that was closing early on Fridays for COVID would not reopen until Monday and they would be stuck behind bars until Monday.

Attempts to verify the story had Doug and Megyn being told to use cryptocurrency, also because of COVID protocols, and when reaching out to a friend of Diane’s on Cape Cod to deliver the funds, he noticed the “lawyer” mispronounced the name of the town Barnstable and he instead went to the sister’s home where he found the couple safe.

“Diane and Brad are safe, no one has handed over any money, and Steve saved the day,” explained Kelly who then got the scammer on the phone and tried to catch him in a lie.

“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. So, 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 too ourselves,” she noted near the end of the program.

A year prior to Kelly’s story, Arizona mother Jennifer DeStefano recounted a similar con during a congressional hearing on AI and Human Rights where she was made to believe her 15-year-old daughter had been kidnapped and was being ransomed at $1 million before the sum was lowered to $50,000.

“As our world moves at a lightning-fast pace, the human element of familiarity that lays foundation to our social fabric of what is ‘known’ and what is ‘truth,’ is being revolutionized with Artificial Intelligence. Some for good, and some for evil,” she told Congress after it turned out her daughter had been safe and AI had been used to replicate her voice for the scam.

“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,” expressed Kelly. “They just happen privately because people are too embarrassed to talk about it. They are humiliated, and I get it. But there’s 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, right? But a slightly jaded, trusting soul? I think that’s what we are going for,” she added. “That is why we shared, and that is why we hope everybody listens and talks about these kinds of things more and more so we can help each other.”

Kevin Haggerty

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