“This is Arnold Lewis from Norstar Investments,” the voice on the telephone said. “Are you sitting down, Mr. Corkran?”
“Sitting down? Why should I be sitting down?” Corkran asked.
“I have some news that may shock you,” the voice said.
“What kind of news?”
“I’m sorry to inform you that your brokerage account has been hacked and your entire portfolio has been wiped out,” the man on the phone said.
“What!” Corkran screamed into the phone. “How did this happen? Was it just my account that was hacked?”
“No,” the voice answered. “Unfortunately, our entire system was hacked, although only those portfolios with assets in excess of a million dollars were stolen.”
“Oh my God,” Corkran said. “That was the bulk of my retirement savings. What am I going to do now?”
“I know this is a shock, Mr. Corkran,” the man on the phone said, “but we at Norstar are going to do everything we can to recover your funds. I just need to ask you a few questions. Let’s start with your Social Security number.”
About fifteen minutes later, after answering all of questions Arnold Lewis had asked him during the call, Corkran was telling his wife the shocking news about his portfolio being hacked. “Did you ask him about my brokerage account?” she asked her husband.
“No, I was so shocked by the news that I didn’t think to do that,” Corkran admitted. “I’ll call him back right now.” When the customer representative at the investment firm answered the phone, Corkran asked to speak to Arnold Lewis.
“I’m sorry, the woman said, “but there’s no Arnold Lewis who works here.”
“That’s not possible. I just spoke to him about half an hour ago and he told me that your firm had been hacked and my portfolio had been wiped clean.”
“Our firm has not been hacked, Mr. Corkran. Please tell me you didn’t give that man any of your personal information.”
“Oh shit!” Corkran exclaimed.
Written for today’s one-word prompt, “shock.”