We got a call the other day from Laurel Bates of Puyallup about a phone scam that was recently run on her.
She was able to get her money back but wanted to alert others to be guard against swindlers.
Here’s her account of what happened:
A man with a heavy East Indian accent woke me up out of a sound sleep, so I wasn’t thinking about what he was saying when he told me my computer was badly infected with viruses.
I told him I was sleeping and was not getting up.
After I got up, this guy called me back and I asked him how he knew anything about my computer. He told me I had registered my Windows program when we bought our computer and he was an authorized Windows man.
He told me to turn on my computer and showed me all of these errors. He told me to leave my computer on and he would call me back when he had fixed the problem.
Several hours later, he called back and said it was repaired, and said I owed him $136. I gave him my debit card information, and he charged me for it.
A couple of days later another man with a heavy East Indian accent called me and said HE was the authorized Windows man and that my computer was infected.
When I told him another man had told me the same thing and had charged me $136 to fix the problem he told me I had been scammed, that HIS company
was the only one authorized and that I needed to call my bank and report being scammed, which I did.
He then said he would fix my computer. I told him we didn’t have any money until the end of the month. He said he would repair my computer and call back at the month if I PROMISED I would pay him then, so I said OK.
When he called back a few days later I asked him which one was he, because there seemed to be so many of these guys claiming the same things. He got rather irritated with me, and I hung up.
A few days later, another one called me – same thing, heavy accent – and said he was from the Charge Back Department, and that he was supposed to get my $136 charged back to my bank account.
When I wanted to know how to tell whether he was legitimate he showed me a website called XOOM. This site was all about how to send money to India. He was supposedly getting my $136 charged back to me but I noticed he had the money going to some guy in India and asked him about it.
He told me that was the guy who scammed me, and he was getting the money back from him, only it wasn’t $136 anymore, it was $369. He said he made a mistake, but couldn’t tell his boss to fix it (and they were not allowed to use their real names) because he would get fired.
He told me his real name was Rohit Gupta and he wanted me to go to Western Union and have $200 sent to him. I told him it was late and I was not going to Western Union.
The next day I checked my e-mail and found an email from Western Union, where this guy used my debit card and had $369 sent to himself, and another one from XOOM, saying this charge on their account was fraudulent and they canceled it.
I immediately called my bank to report all this, and after having my card canceled and saying the Western Union charge was fraudulent, the money was back in my account.
The people at my bank said an unbelievable number of people are scammed this way, especially around the holidays, so I contacted the paper in hopes this saves someone else from having it happen to them.