As if hacking into your computer and getting into your bank account isn’t enough, scammers are now finding a way to trick you on top of that.
A Gaffney woman lost $4,000 to the scam. She and the Cherokee County Sheriff are warning other citizens so they don’t fall victim.
Like many of us, Judy Guyton checks her bank account online.
Turns out, so did some hackers.
But she didn’t know that when she got a call offering new virus protection software for her computer.
“He says well I’ll give you $300 to try it, and I said no,” said Guyton, “He said I can put $300 in your account right now.”
When Guyton checked her account, it wasn’t just $300. It was $3,000.
“I said, how in the world did they put $3,000 in my checking account. And every second this phone was ringing and they were like, you’ve got to send this money back. Oh, we made a mistake, we put in one zero too many.”
The calls kept coming, pleading with her to make it right. So, as instructed, she wired every cent to China.
Sheriff Steve Mueller says the combination of a hack and a follow-up scam shows how sophisticated these criminals have become.
“It’s unique that they had everything, but again it shows how crafty they are that they didn’t just wipe everything out because they knew it would be untraceable,” said Sheriff Mueller, “These are folks who are smart, they’re very tech savvy.”
So Savvy, Guyton realized too late, the scammers transferred $3,000 from a cash advance on her credit card to her bank account. So she had given away money she didn’t have.
Law enforcement may never know exactly how the hackers got into her bank account, but what they do know is if you don’t initiate a call like this, 99% of the time, it’s a scam. So always verify.
“Realistically, and to be honest with our citizens and the people who are victims of this, the chances of catching them are very very rare,” said Sheriff Mueller.
But Guyton is still holding out hope.
“Just hoping and praying that something will come of this and I can get my money back and they can do their time,” Guyton says.
One of the biggest red flags for any scam is the method of payment. If any company asks you to pay via wire transfer, iTunes, or prepaid card: watch out. Those methods are virtually untraceable and it’s likely a scam.