A local professor and author is sharing how she got scammed. She received an email about a fake business charge but then really lost the money after calling customer service.
Marion Winik said she knows better, but these con artists just happened to catch her on a day she was feeling vulnerable and they were extra persuasive.
“I had, about a half an hour earlier, learned my aunt had died. So, I was kind of in an upset mood but I had to teach a class. So I went into my class and started teaching and my phone was lying on the desk and I saw an email come in,” Winik said.
It was a $50 charge for some game on her apple iTunes account. She texted her kids asking if anyone bought the game, they said no. So she googled the phone number for iTunes support.
“I talked to multiple people, supervisors, and all this and as it went on they explained that actually my iTunes account had been charged for 200 something dollars for things I didn't buy and the only way they could refund it was if I had an iTunes card they could refund it to,” said Winik.
It didn't make sense to her.
She kept asking why and they kept transferring her to a supervisor. Upset and frustrated, Winik finally obliged.
“Eventually I drove to CVS with them on my cellphone, bought an iTunes card, and they told me to scratch and read the number to them and I did it,” said Winik.
Just like that the money was gone.
“About one second after I hung up, I realized there is no way this is Apple and I'm getting any money back and I just gave them $100,” Winik said.
There were so many moments she says she should've figured it out. In fact, she started off skeptical. The original email with the fake receipt wanted certain information that she hesitated to give out.
“The email was trying to get me to give them my credit card and I thought this isn't right I'm just going to call iTunes. So I got out of one trap only to fall into another,” said Winik.
Infuriated they would take advantage of her like that, Winik called back to give them a piece of her mind.
“You know, ‘why did you steal my money?’ And they said, that's why they call it a gift card ma’am, because you gave us a gift,” said Winik.
She doesn't even think the number she called was specifically for the iTunes scam. The people on the other line used the information she provided to cheat her out of money.
Don't let this happen to you:
- Avoid clicking on suspicious emails
- Never give a gift card code over the phone to someone you don’t know
- Make sure you call the support line from the actual company's website