One popular ruse is the tech support scam, and now, during the pandemic with more seniors homebound using computers, they're more vulnerable than ever.
- Elder fraud is on the rise. The FBI says, older adults lose more than $3 billion each year to scammers, and one popular ruse, the tech support scam. And now, during the pandemic with more seniors homebound, using computers, seniors are more vulnerable than ever. 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda has a story of one of the more convincing cons.
- They scared me.
NINA PINEDA: Did they tell you, don't talk to anybody?
- And don't hang up the phone.
- And go here.
- And go there.
- A familiar MO. The con artist, who swindled this Brooklyn mom, called her home and pretended to be from Microsoft, claiming she owed them money.
- And they said to go to my computer, and once I went in my computer, they went in.
- Into her bank account, she says, controlling her screen, even her printer.
So they printed this out. It just came out of your printer.
A script, directing her to send money.
- To a bank in Thailand.
- And if questioned, say the funds were--
- For real estate purpose.
- She was told to come to this Chase Bank on Ralph Avenue and wire $39,400 to Thailand. She did it, but Chase flagged the transfer for being suspicious and inconsistent with her account. So they canceled it.
But the very next day, the scared scam victim was directed to try, again, at a different branch, her own.
The teller, did they ask you, what are you doing?
- But she admits, reading the script the scammer sent.
- This is for real estate.
- So the money went through from Brooklyn to Bangkok.
- She was being pressured and bullied by scammers.
- The family claims, they didn't get the letter alerting them the first attempt was stopped and to take action before it was too late.
- She didn't get that letter, until a week later.
- That's why I'm more annoyed at the bank than these scammers.
- Chase told us, it regrets that their customer was the victim of a scam, repeating what the teller told me. She warned, but was told the wire was legit for a real estate deal. The big takeaway, be wary of anyone calling and directing you to your computer for any reason. Never confirm or give bank account numbers to strangers, and never wire money or buy gift cards to share with someone you don't know.
- It just makes you feel, like, just very humiliated, and I felt--
- And violated.