Woman sent creepy WhatsApp messages from stranger calling her ‘baby’ minutes after calling the NHS hotline
A woman claims she remained terrified after trying to book her second Covid hit through an NHS hotline, only to receive messages regarding WhatsApp from a man asking for a date minutes later.
Ruby Hall, 26, says the person behind the messages, sent from an unknown number, said she got her number from a friend on the 119 helpline.
The messages, seen by MyLondon, included things like âCan we have a video call. I started to love you “and repeatedly call Mrs. Hall” baby “.
Initially, Ruby, who is from Leighton Buzzard, rejected the messages as spam.
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She said: âAt first I was really shocked. It’s scary as hell, why would someone randomly message you?
“And then you start to think who is it?” How did they get my number? So obviously I answered and I said who are you, how did you get my number? He said his name was Alex.
âI was still very confused and he obviously wasn’t very open about it, and then it kind of clicked. I just spoke to a man on the phone and three minutes later got these random messages. “
Ruby asked “Alex” if he was the man she spoke to on the phone, and although they said they were a friend, thinks it’s the same person.
âHe called me baby, and I was like ‘don’t call me baby, I don’t know you’,â she said. “Then I was like ‘did I talk to you trying to book my vaccine’ then he said you talked to my friend.
âI was shocked then, and you think, ‘Oh my gosh the guy who tried to book my vaccine took my number and messaged me.’
Ruby says that “Alex” also revealed to her that he had tried the same tactic with other people.
“When you go out and are harassed, because all women have been harassed at some point in their life, but you are out there, someone is there and they see you in person,” she added.
“But the fact that I spoke to someone on the phone and they just looked at the picture that was on my WhatsApp and found it all, is just more shocking than any other kind of harassment because it is so unwarranted and it’s just impossible for someone to turn around like “oh this man sent me a message, I will totally reply to him”.
âIt’s just shocking. I was like ‘Let me understand, you put people’s numbers in WhatsApp, you look at their photos and if they are attractive you send them a message?’ and he said he had tried with a few people and then I said “it’s even worse, it’s not the first time it’s happened”.
The messages ended when the sender told Ruby to “f *** off”, after she told them they were going to be blocked.
What really worried Ruby was that a vulnerable person could be tricked into going to see him text in person.
She said, âWhat if they meet them? Everything can happen. It’s shocking, which is why I took it so seriously. Obviously he’s tried it before so I thought it was literally ridiculous so I was like blocking you.
“He said he would send me pictures that I was like hell, no I don’t want to see pictures of you.
“I was like, ‘you’re a creep’.”
Although Ruby accepts that she has no definitive proof that this was the same man she spoke to on the hotline, she thinks it is “quite obvious” that it was him. .
She said: “The fact that he said” I started to love you “and I thought,” I never spoke to you, so how can you say that you started to love you? to love “, that does not make sense.
âIt makes sense if you’re talking to someone. It’s not possible for him to say that I started to like you just because of the number his friend gave him.
Ruby says she then complained to the NHS, but during their investigation, the number in WhatsApp messages did not match the call agents’ personal number.
In a letter to Ruby seen by MyLondon, they added that: âThe phone numbers that the Citizen contacted appear to be from India country codes and do not match the usual discourse of agents, but we recognize that we do not can’t say for sure. “
Ruby felt she was not taken seriously.
She said: “So that they don’t take it seriously because of the country code, I was like ‘are you kidding?
âI said, ‘I have the screenshots, do you want to see them’ and they were happy enough with the country code to say no. Why can’t you take what I’m saying more seriously when I said I had proof, why didn’t you take it right away?
Ruby says she is now completely reluctant to use the NHS booking service again, to the point that the thought of doing so makes her anxious and has ultimately changed reservations for her online jab.
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“I don’t want to talk to them anymore,” she said. “I don’t want to have to talk to them and I think it will be the same person, it’s like anxiety, what if I call and end up talking to the same person?
“What if I call and talk to someone else and they know I made a complaint and that they are funny to me on the phone?” I don’t want to have any interaction with them.
Having received what she sees as a bad response from the NHS, Ruby took her complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who she said told her the police are not addressing such issues.
She said: âI explained the situation and he said if that is indeed what this gentleman did, it is illegal. It broke GDPR laws, it took your personal information and caused a data breach.
âHe shouldn’t be allowed to work in places where he has access to people’s personal information. Since I spoke to them and found out about this, I think he should be sued so that he definitely can’t work for someone else and put someone else in this. position.
The whole situation was extremely stressful for Ruby, who says it left her playing the situation over and over in her head.
Following the ordeal, she has some advice for other women who have had similar encounters.
âAlways, always report it,â she said. âNever think that you can’t and that someone won’t do anything about it, because if we all feel that way and don’t do anything about it, we could be another Sarah Everard.
“If you report it and it’s recorded somewhere, things will be done and things will change and we will stop being needlessly hassled.”
The NHS has been contacted for comment.
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