On Friday, a woman stopped by the Fairfield Glade Police Department in reference to a scam. She stated she opened her laptop and it appeared to have a virus. A number on the screen popped up, which she called, and they stated they were “Microsoft” and advised she had been hacked and her bank account information had been compromised. They told her she needed to take out $4,000 from her account and leave her bank account empty that way no one could steal money from her. “Microsoft” then advised her to go buy gift cards and send them the information to help balance the money that was taken out of the account. Even though the woman admitted it did not make sense, she sent the caller the card information. At the time of making the police report, the woman was on the phone with “Microsoft”. When the officer asked for his information, the caller immediately disconnected the call.
The woman was hoping the money was still on the cards. However, the scammers only need the numbers on the cards to access the money. The officer advised the woman to open a new bank account and to get her computer cleaned by a company that cleans electronics of viruses.
That same day, another woman had a “helpline” telephone number pop up on her laptop when it appeared to have uploaded a virus. The woman called the number and spoke with a male subject who stated her personal information had been compromised and she needed to withdraw all her money from her bank account. He instructed the victim to take all of her money out of her account and put it into a Bitcoin account. She was then instructed to send a picture of her driver’s license to the man and he would set up a Bitcoin account for her. After doing so, she went to her local bank and withdrew money. She then traveled to a store off Peavine Road and deposited $300 into a Bitcoin machine by using the barcode the man sent to her to log in. After depositing the money, she then became suspicious she could be scammed.
The woman is currently out $300.
The Cumberland County deputies are investigating these cases. Unfortunately, Bitcoin and gift cards are commonly used in scams because they are hard to trace. Please be aware of scammers asking you to withdraw money and giving them your bank account information.