Last year, consumers lost more than $667 million to scammers who pretended to be everyone from the IRS to the police to even family members.
The average victim loses about $700, but one Nassau County woman lost a lot more.
7 On Your Side wanted to talk to one of these con artists who stole thousands from a hard-working single mom simply trying to surprise her son with a new iPhone.
“You’re a scam an artist, you’re running a scam,” 7 On Your Side told the impostor. “You’re taking advantage of this mom. This is is not Apple.”
The man on other end of the phone is an impostor masquerading as an Apple support person.
Chinyere Ogbonna says she lost $6,000 to a counterfeit Apple support person, just like him.
It began when she got an empty box instead of the new iPhone she ordered. She Googled “Apple Support” on her phone, called the first number and was told in order to be refunded the $1,500 to her credit card, she had to first buy gift cards and share the codes.
“This is my whole life savings I gave to them,” Ogbonna said.
Her mistake? After googling Apple support on her phone, a few numbers popped up. By clicking on certain ones, an impostor shows up.
7 On Your Side called another number which popped up as “Apple Support,” but the website was masked as “Hair lounge.”
That’s a clue to the con that Ogbonna didn’t see.
When 7 On Your Side called the number, the scammer tried to get us to install an app and screen-share banking information.
His story was he needed that information to “process a refund.” 7 On Your Side never gave it to him.
The big takeaway: Be very careful when you’re looking for phone numbers online, go directly to the number on your bill or the legitimate website.
Never click on a link or call a number emailed or texted to you. And never pay with gift cards. Once that money is gone, it’s gone.
In this case, Apple did send out another phone, free of charge.
Click here for more tips from Apple.
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