PSA: Don't buy Apple gift cards for “Brian Hartline.”
Late Monday morning, a very perplexing text message popped up on my phone from an unknown Missouri phone number.
To my absolute astonishment, it was none other than Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline.
Now, to be clear, no part of me actually thought this was Brian Hartline sending me an unsolicited text from a non-Apple device with a St. Louis area code.
For one, nothing about that message sounds like a 35-year-old former NFL player paid to relate to teens. Second, if he really wanted to reach me, I'm nearly certain he'd simply shoot me a direct message on Twitter instead of somehow acquiring my cell phone number.
But there's always that 0.01 percent chance it's actually legit. And even if it's not, it's a great story.
So I had to reply.
Ah yes – Brian Hartline needs *me* to drop everything I'm doing and run to the nearest grocery store to purchase him some “physical cards” for a “presentation.”
So I decided to hop right on that – or at least carry out the fake.
Turns out, the reason he needed my help is because he is “quite busy,” with recruiting the latest five-star teen, I assumed.
No worries, I'll handle it.
Turns out, he didn't actually want Apples to Apples. We eventually got that sorted out.
I obviously had absolutely no intention of leaving my house to send “Brian” pictures of an aisle of gift cards, so I tried to talk my way out of it.
But Brian wasn't having it, so I had to use my trusty Google skills to get myself a photo that was at least slightly believable.
(As I'm sure you are aware, I did not actually quit my job to help him. I apologize for lying)
Brian was a little skeptical about the picture, but I was able to convince him that I was just a very good photographer. And he told me exactly what he needed.
And I wasn't shy about telling him what I needed, either.
I figure if I'm doing a favor for him, the least he can do is do a favor for me and answer some of my recruiting questions. You scratch my back, I scratch yours – y'all know the deal.
At first, he wasn't budging.
But eventually, I got the goods.
Rest easy Buckeye fans – the Blast Brothers are heading to Columbus.
You'll be stunned to hear that I did not actually purchase five gift cards – sorry Brian.
I never got to find out if he knew deez, because he stopped replying, which is sad.
All in all, while this was fun, it's also low-key terrifying that this person obtained my number and knew enough about me to know that I would at least reply if they pretended to be Brian Hartline. These scammers are evolving – stay frosty.
On the other hand, they did absolutely no extra research to make the ruse even the slightest bit believable aside from using Hartline's name, so there's still work to do.
Also, in the unlikely event that this was, in fact, Brian Hartline desperately seeking my help to obtain Apple gift cards for a very important presentation, please know that I am truly sorry.
Cant make this stuff up.— Brian Hartline (@brianhartline) January 24, 2022
Trying to raise $$ for NIL https://t.co/fK3IOixktr