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Perspectives

A Case of an Internet Scam

By Dianne Kemp, BA, RN

Originally Published on July 20th, 2018

We hear almost daily about yet another case of an internet scam. This is the story of a friend of mine who fell victim to a scam

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This friend of mine is about my age, single, lives alone and is very advanced in her knowledge of the internet and computer use.  She also knows about scams and is very careful when sharing information.  She pledged never to get “caught” by a scam.

One evening, my friend, let’s call her Sue, was looking at Facebook. She is the administrator of a Facebook group and was checking the activity. She noticed that somehow, there was another group started under her account. Concerned, she googled Facebook support and called the toll-free number.  The phone was answered by a gentleman with a middle eastern accent.  He was extremely understanding and promised Sue that he would solve her problem.  “Don’t worry”

This began a long journey.  Sue explained the issue and was asked to download a file to allow the support staff to remotely access her computer.  She did this and was immediately shown by the support help – let’s call him Joe – that her account had been hacked and that they could fix it.  Joe said there would be a small fee of $5.00 to fix the issue and that this would give Sue continuous, never ending hack prevention – forever.  Sue said she wondered at this point if this was real but was relying on the fact that it was the phone number the google search had given her, so it must be legitimate.

This led to a request for Sue to sign up for a payment site where she could send her $5. And this payment site required a copy of her driver’s license which they could scan remotely – and yes, Sue obliged.  It was quickly discovered that, unknown to Sue, her license had expired three months previously, so it could not be used.

Next step Sue was to purchase a $100 iTunes gift card from Best Buy online and give Joe the validation code.  And Joe reassured her that she would get the $100 back.  I know, Sue should have stopped right here – what did this have to do with a gift card?!? – but she didn’t.  And, the card validation number did not work.  They then asked Sue to go to a local store and buy two $100 iTunes gift card and they would wait on the phone for her to give them the validation codes.  Sue got in her car and drove to her local store and asked for the cards. Lucky for her, the store manager was standing there and asked her if the cards were for someone she knew.  Sue said no. The manager then told her about a very clever internet scam that was asking people to buy cards.  Ding-ding.  Sue finally realized that her concern was valid.  She rushed out to her car, picked up her cell phone where Joe was patiently waiting, and told him off – in language I will not repeat.  Joe tried to deny Sue’s facts, but Sue simply hung up the phone.

When Sue got home, she called Best Buy and cancelled the $100 card – the customer service rep was very kind and said Sue was not the first call she had received about this scam.

All of this took about three hours of Sue’s evening.

Sue received several calls that evening and the next morning from the fake Facebook support trying to convince her that they were legitimate, but Sue hung up each time.  She did say they were very convincing and had their lies down pat.

The next day, Sue went to look at her bank account online and was horrified to see that $1,000 had been taken out of her account and sent to the company who supposedly was fixing her computer.

Sue called the fake Facebook support number and of course, no one answered but she was able to leave a message – a oh boy did she!!  She then called the fraud department at her bank and told them about the illegal transaction.

Sue received a call back from the scammer, who tried very hard to convince her that they would refund her $1000, that it was a computer error.  They would deposit it into her bank account if she would just give them her account information.  No way!!  They then said they would send a check, but Sue said no to that too.  Sue was then told that there was no other way to get the money to her.

Sue received several calls that day asking her for information, so the scammer could refund her money – sometimes she talked to them, sometimes she just hung up the phone.

Thankfully, the bank had seen this scam before and put the $1000 back into Sue’s account immediately.  Sue changed all her passwords and vowed to be much more careful.  She feels embarrassed and foolish.

This can happen to the best of us.

OK – Sue is me.

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Dianne Kemp was born in Detroit and moved to Lexington at age 9. She received her Associate Degree in Nursing Science in 1972 from SC4, and a Bachelors in Healthcare Psychology from Graceland College (Iowa) in 1996.
Dianne’s career developed from her love of babies. She was a Maternal Child nurse for 45 years – developing and teaching childbirth and parenting education classes, working as an RN in Mother Baby Care and was the first lactation consultant in the county. She is now volunteering as a chaplain at River District Hospital since losing her vision in her left eye due to a retinal detachment in 2010.
Dianne is the proud mother of three children (one who was disabled and passed away in 2007) and two grandchildren.

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Disclaimer: Blue Water Healthy Living is an online magazine located in Port Huron, Michigan. Our purpose is to promote healthy living by showcasing the Blue Water Area, its people, issues and surroundings. This online magazine is devoted to providing healthy living related stories, local happenings, and commentary. Often inspiring and uplifting, our stories come from our heart and soul to promote the enjoyment of a more fulfilling Blue Water Area lifestyle. The material on this web site is provided for informational and amusement purposes only and is not to be confused with any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and values of Blue Water Healthy Living.

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