ABC Affiliate Admits to Using Kristi Noem’s Cell Number to Make Prank Calls

After the January 6th panel “accidentally” leaked the personal information of almost 2,000 Republican officials, South Dakota reporter Austin Goss decided he was going to go out of his way to ruin his career.

As luck would have it, Goss knew about a website called, which he then used to send pre-recorded messages to the former chairman of the state’s Republican Party, Dan Lederman, using Gov. Kristi Noem’s phone number.

Blatant abuse of privacy

This led to a number of charges against Goss, including those for making threats, harassing, and using misleading contacts. That practically ended his days as a news reporter.

In the pre-recorded message, Goss pretended to be a mafia member accusing Dan Lederman of stealing numerous boxes of AstraZeneca vaccines, with Lederman claiming Goss continued this harassment even later on.

Dozens of rude remarks were sent to Lederman’s phone, all pretending to have been sent by current state Gov. Kristi Noem, whose phone and social security number were leaked by the January 6th committee.

For some reason, Goss’ lawyer thought he could play the whole thing off as a practical joke between a couple of friends. However, no one except for him was laughing, especially Lederman and Noem whose personal info was now available to everyone.

Identity theft is no joke

Even though he was facing a full year in prison accompanied by a $2k fine, Goss managed to walk away scot-free. That was due to the plea deal he’d taken, with his lawyer claiming there will be no conviction on his record.

Thankfully, Governor Noem addressed the issue almost immediately, stating mishandling personal info can have serious, real-world consequences. She added that if anyone should get a call from her number, it’s most definitely not going to be her on the other end.

Even though he did get away without any serious repercussions, Goss’ reputation was in a ditch after what he’d done. There are few news outlets out there willing to work with someone who willingly mishandled a governor’s personal information.

Identity theft is a real and growing issue in the US. People can have their entire lives ruined over a leak of their social security and phone numbers.

This article appeared in The Record Daily and has been published here with permission.