By Jon Johnson
GRAHAM COUNTY – In an all-too-common theme, an elderly woman was a victim of an online scam that ended up costing her $24,500.
According to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report, the victim said she initially received an e-mail stating it was from McAfee and that her computer security was on auto payment for renewal at $499 for three years of service. The email also advised of a phone number to call if the customer had any questions or complaints.
The email was not really from the software company, however, and no bill would’ve been charged. Scammers want you to call the phone number to complain. That is how they get to move a mark onto the next step.
Once the victim called the “helpline” a person informed her that to fix the problem she would have to download a program called “My Desk” so he could work remotely on her computer. The person said once that was complete he would be able to refund the victim’s money in two $250 payments. Afterward, he said a mistake had been made and he accidentally transferred $25,000 into her account.
The con man then instructed the victim to withdraw $24,500 in small bills and sent it to an address in Houston, Texas. The victim did as instructed and withdrew the money and sent it overnight by UPS.
When the victim later pulled up her checking account, she realized the transfer never went through and her bank advised it never saw any pending transfer to her account.
The victim told the officer that she was going to close her bank accounts and open new ones and have someone “clean” her computer for viruses so the scammers no longer have access to it.
Four Signs That It’s a Scam
1. Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know.
Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations.
They use technology to change the phone number that…