I heard from several readers who told me they fell victim to the same or similar scam that I wrote about last week. A gentleman shared his story of being duped for more than a year after agreeing to a computer "check-up" service. Eventually, he was offered a $150 refund, but it turned into a $15,000 deposit in his bank account that was taken from his own home equity line. The bank stopped the scam before he lost his money.
But I heard a heartbreaking story from a 68-year-old Barberton man, who asked not to be identified, who actually lost nearly $20,000. His scam was very similar, and he was so afraid of the scammers that he followed their directions to go to two different branches of his bank to withdraw a little under $10,000 (there's a daily limit that prompts reporting to the IRS; it's unclear why his bank didn't notice or report this immediately).
He took the nearly $20,000, and per instructions, wrapped it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and sent it FedEx to California.
He knows the money is gone. He had saved the money to redo the master bathroom and add a shower for his disabled wife.
The man reported it to the police, but not until two days after he mailed the package. They said they'd report it to federal authorities, and he never heard back. He also told me his computer was now protected after the scam. But when he told me the program was through another pop-up on his computer, I urged him to take his computer to the closest legitimate computer store to get it cleaned out, change all of his account numbers and freeze his credit.
Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or firstname.lastname@example.org.