299 - How I Got Scammed - John Laurito

In today’s world, everything is connected and found online. It takes constant vigilance to ensure your accounts are secure and you don’t get scammed. Today host John Laurito shares his experience of being scammed and the leadership lessons that came with it. He also shares the four questions most people ask to see if they should follow a leader or not. 

[0:00] Intro

[1:46] Riddle answers and more riddles

[5:43] The call

[13:30] The 4 questions

[16:33] Protect yourself from scams

[17:59] Outro

Send your answers to today’s riddle to 860-573-7230 or to john@lauritogroup.com

Get a copy of “Tomorrow’s Leader” on Amazon.

John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership. What makes the best leaders so good? After running companies small and large over the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to tomorrow’s leader. 

John Alright,  welcome to the show. I’m going to give a quick plug to a great show out there if you haven’t checked this out. It’s been on forever. I think it’s still going on. I know. Reruns and stuff going on. Marcus Lemonis, The Prophet, if you love business and you love leadership, it is awesome. Check it out. He goes in kind of fixes businesses and, you know, it’s really direct and abrupt. But he’s good. He’s really good. But it is it’s always funny to hear his description of a business. It’s, you know, he’ll go into a bakery and he’ll size it up and say. They knew how to make cookies, but they forgot how to make money. Everything goes up, and then the tone comes down. Today on tomorrow’s leader. We’re going to learn the winners of the riddles. And then I’m going to go into some leadership insights. 

John This is how I’m going to talk. Never mind. Uh. Okey dokey. So let’s get started. First of all, I do. I do have riddles. I have more riddles to give you, but I have winners that I want to announce. I’m really excited about this. I know you’ve been waiting patiently. You’ve been texting me, emailing me, calling me, whatever, with all of your answers, most of which have been wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. But, uh, few special people out there have gotten them right. And, um, I lost my shit here. That’s all me who they are. Wants to do a measurement. Okay. Well, that’s interesting. I literally just said it here. But anyways, I know I’ve memorized it. I know who it is. Okay. So the first question, the first riddle that I had put out there, this was a few episodes back. So I’m going to give you the answers to three of them now. One of them was not a guest. Which. There it is. 

John One of them was not guest and I debated about giving you more time for that. But I think all of you have exhausted all of your chances. Nobody has gotten it right. So let me start off with the correct one. So one of the riddles was. You turn me on my side and I am everything. You cut me in half. I am nothing. Again. I’ll say you turn me on my side. I am everything. You cut me in half. I am nothing. I had many, many, many guesses for this. The first correct answer. Was. First of all, the answer was the number eight turn on my side. It’s the infinity symbol. If I cut it in half, it’s zero. That was given by drum roll. Brian Secrest, an advisor at Lincoln Investments. Good guy. Great guy. And he is a smart guy. Smart guy. Very smart guy. 

John So Brian gets some notoriety, some recognition on this worldwide show and a signed copy of tomorrow’s leader that will be en route to him shortly. So great job, Brian. Okay. Second riddle was a 42 year old butcher. He stands six foot four and has size 12 shoes. What does he weigh? Kay. Got a lot of answers on this one, too. And the correct answer was meat. Yes. 42 year old butcher weighs meat. That’s what he does for a living in ways meat. Trick question that was given by correct answer by Patricia Phillips. Congratulations, Patricia. We don’t know you, but you are a listener. So congrats. And I will be sending you a copy of my book. Congratulations. You are now worldwide famous. And I am glad to be sending you a signed copy of tomorrow’s leader. Congratulations. Okay. The third one, which was not guessed correctly, was what English were word. I’ll tell you what I’m going to tell you. I’m just going to remind you of it. And then I’ll give you one more episode or a couple more episodes to, I guess it. 

John What English word has three consecutive double letters in it. I believe there’s only one word. Okay, so that is it. But I’m going to give you today’s riddle. Today’s riddle. Pay attention here. And this again. Anybody who guesses it will get some notoriety and mention on the show, how can the number four be half of five? I’ll say it again. How can the number four be half of five? All right, get those wheels turning. Mathematicians out there, put pen to paper. Do whatever calculator, whatever you need to do, just don’t cheat. And first person to give me your answer, I will let the world know. Okay. All right. So here is the deal. I was this was last I’m going to say a couple weeks ago. I was sitting outside. I’ve got great backyard area. I love sitting out there, just chilling out, watching movies like a big TV out there. Just super comfortable. Great weather. Love it. That’s North Carolina for you. So I take advantage of that. I’m sitting outside back one night, not long ago, a couple of weeks ago with my son Nic. And my phone is ringing some 800 number, whatever. Ignore it. It’s a sales call goes to voicemail right away. 

John They call back again, ignored again, goes right to voicemail right away. It calls back again and it goes to voicemail, leaves a message. And I’m like, What the hell? So I, I just I listen to the voicemail and the voicemail is an automated voicemail. I recorded message saying from Venmo and it says the, the message is we have detected I’m actually going to pull it up because I have I have the message written out. It says, we’ve detected you’ve sent $550 to John Kramer and we believe it is a fraudulent transfer. If this was not you, please, please press one. This is an automated fraud alert from Venmo. If this was not, you, press one. So I’m listening to this and I’m like, okay, first of all, my radar is up majorly for any kind of scams. You know, it’s tons of scams I’ve seen. I’ve been part of. 

John I’ve, you know, in financial services, we are just targets beyond targets for for scams. I’m always on the alert for these things. So any time I get any kind of email, any time it’s from somebody I don’t know, any time I get a phone call. 99.9% of time. I’m assuming this is a scam as I am with this now. I know there’s lots of PayPal and Venmo scams and Amazon, all kinds of stuff. So I’m thinking, okay, this is a scam. So I just look at the number and I’m like, okay, well, let me let me look up separately or let me call the number back. I call the number back and it goes, it’s Venmo. It sounds like a very authentic Venmo voicemail. And I, you know, I’m still not sold. So I go to Google, I search up Venmo’s customer service line and this 800 number comes up the same exact 800 number. 

John So I’m thinking, okay, I guess this is legit. Obviously it is venmo’s number. So right then the phone rings again. It’s the same number. This time I decide to answer it. So again, Nick, hold on 1/2. You got to deal with this. I answer the phone. It’s the same automated message and it says this is an automated fraud alert from Venmo. You recently sent a payment for $550 to John Kramer. We believe it’s fraudulent. If this was not you press one. It was not me. I did not send $550 to John Kramer. Something can want them now. Yeah, sure. It’s not me. I press one. It then says, okay, to confirm your identity, we have just sent you a text with a five digit code. Please punch this code in. Now I’m immediately thinking, okay. Well, what am I giving them? I’m not giving them anything other than this five digit code now. 

John Okay. Let me back up. I think I’m a pretty smart guy. Okay. And I again, my radar is up for this kind of stuff. And I’m just thinking, okay, well, I’m not giving them any confidential information. They sent me a code. Okay. You know, they’re asking me to plug this and confirm my identity. So I plug in the codeand , I plug in the five-digit code. Their response is, okay, great, we’ve blocked the charge. Thank you for your cooperation. We’ll be in touch with further details. That’s it. End of the phone call. I’m still thinking. Okay, what did I do? I think I even said to Nick, I don’t. I still I didn’t give them any confidential information. We can’t give them anything. I just gave them this number that they texted me, they texted me, and I gave them that number. So about 5 minutes pass by. 

John Earlier in the day, I had Venmo, a buddy of mine, some money, and he texts me with a screenshot of a text. This is five or 10 minutes after this phone call happens and he says, Dude, what’s this in the screenshot of the text basically is from me, from my Venmo, with my picture and it’s through Venmo chat feature, whatnot, and it says, Hey, and his name is Dave and it says, Hey David. Okay, the first clue that’s not me says, Hey David, I mistakenly sent you too much money. A second payment, please send that back to me. It was a mistake. Apologies, John. And he’s like, What the heck is this? I’m like, Dude, that wasn’t me. Are you kidding me? 

John My account has gotten hacked and immediately I’m starting to realize, okay, I’m a nugget. Ed and I fell for a very elaborate, I will say scam and I’ll tell you exactly what happened. So it turns out Dave sends me a few moments later because it hadn’t my text I guess reached him that supposed text before the actual payment, but then follows a $900 payment I sent him. Previously on when it was 100 bucks. Something like that sends them a $900 payment out of my account. Okay, and guess what? It happened at this point I realized, okay, so Venmo basically somebody had hijacked or somehow gotten the Venmo number and was able to use that number to only, you know, assume that number is their identity and call from that number. Which made this a very elaborate prank. 

John Now, what they had done is a prank scam. What they had done is asked for that authentication code because they on the other side of this phone call were then changing my password and now access to my account. And that’s exactly what they had done. They had hacked into my account. That five-digit code basically was what you needed. Two-factor ID to reset your password. Now they had access. They had full control. My guess is they changed the bank information. And then they were sending trying to get that money sent back from Dave. The 900 that came out of my account to Dave go from Dave to their, you know, dirtbag account. So in any event, they went through a lot of effort to do this and I fell for it. So I called Venmo and finally got it figured out long, short end to this long story. 

John I got it fixed. Venmo back me up. Realized they called the real Venmo. Realized yes. This is a laboratory. Am I a scam? I had actually googled it right afterward and they said, Oh yeah, here’s a typical scam. And that was it. So I fell for something that was very typical. But I got to say very elaborately. Again, I think I’m a smart guy and I fell for this stupid thing. Maybe they caught me in a weak moment, whatever I was, you know, late at night watching a movie. But I still thought about it and still fell for it. Okay. What does this have to do with leadership? One, it’s I don’t I just want to share the story with you, but there is leadership lessons in this. Here are a couple of things that are really interesting. They got me to do something that I wouldn’t normally have done. 

John And I think, you know, when you think about leadership, leadership is it is influencing people to do things they wouldn’t have otherwise done. But good things help them do things they wouldn’t have done in a good way, not in a bad way. But bottom line, the principles of leadership still exist. You know, I’ve talked about four questions that any followers going to ask to determine if they’re going to follow a leader. And those four questions are, does this person care about me? Well, okay, so Venmo reached out to me. I’m thinking, okay, well, the kind of good that they’re protecting me, they’re protecting them to themselves too. But they’re protecting me. The Fraud Alerts Alert System is aimed at protecting me. 

John Okay, I can I can kind of be a yes for that question. Secondly, is, do I trust this person? You know, I was skeptical, but they authenticated themselves. I mean, I checked the number. It was legit. It sounded legit. It looked legit. I went through kind of that extra cross-referencing to determine, yeah, this is Venmo’s number. So they had my credibility, they had my trust. And then the questions that you’re always asking the leader is, do I want to follow this person to where they’re trying to take me? Well, in this case, you know, for a leader, that’s the vision. That’s the vision of the organization. In this case, they wanted to take me to pay to protect me. Right. They don’t want me to lose money. Of course, I want to follow them to do that. And then the last thing is, do I think they can take me there? 

John Do I think this leader is the one who can actually get me to where they’re talking about getting me to go or where I want to go? And in this case, yeah, Venmo, of course. And the ones that are going to block this transaction, of course. So it’s just interesting, you know, those four questions that you ask yourself always about a leader still, you know, existed in the background of this decision here. I wasn’t necessarily walking through those four questions in my mind, but they still applied. And it just shows you how powerful that is. As a leader, you can do so much good, not scam people, but you do so much good and influence people in such a huge way. When people know that you care, they trust you. They want to follow you to where you’re going and they know you can take them there. That’s it. 

John Those four questions. That’s it. That’s the name of the game. Unfortunately, good or bad, you have a massive influence when you answer those four questions. Yes, for better or for worse. But those four questions are key. And they honed in on what is a basic need for most people, and that’s to protect what you have. People don’t want to lose what they have. They’re much more pain involved in losing something that you have versus not getting something that you would have that you could have gone. There’s a lot of pain for most people. And this was that was aimed right at that core, like hitting that nerve. You’re about to lose money. We’re going to protect you. You know, that’s hitting the hot button right there. So in any event, so many scams out there. I was on the phone, I was on a podcast with the CEO of a cybersecurity firm, and he said something to me that was fascinating. 

John He said, most firms, it takes the average security breach 280 days before it is detected on average. Small, firm, large, firm, individual. It doesn’t matter. 280 days. It’s almost a year. Think about that. I told him I was floored by that. I said I would have guessed like a week. Yeah, maybe at the most. Maybe a few days. Not 280 days. The bottom line is this shit is happening. Take measures to protect yourself. Keep your radar up, and hopefully, somebody listens to this scam that I got scammed. And you say, all right, and maybe that call is going to come to you and you listen to this podcast and say, wow. 

John All right, John Laurito, tomorrow’s leader. Hey, you saved me. Thanks. Whatever. I love that. Terrific. It’s cracked down on those scam artists. All right. Anyways, quick episode. Kind of a quick episode. Let me know your thoughts. Let me know your thoughts and ideas for future episodes, future guests, and all that kind of good stuff. And let me know if you know the answer to the riddle. Okay. We get two of them out there unanswered. 

John So let me know what your thoughts are until next time likes your subscribe, all that good, good stuff, and go down below. Give a five-star review and we’ll see you next time. Thanks. Bye. 

John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, you can reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!

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