An elaborate phishing scam robbed an elderly couple of their life savings after fraudsters posed as Apple customer support, bank staff and even US Justice Department lawyers.
Judith and George Mijarez, from Texes, were deceived into surrendering around £34,000 by criminals using fake text messages, emails and phone calls to convince them to hand over their funds, reports The Daily Express US.
The couple received notifications on their tablet urging them to call a phone number immediately to address an urgent matter. Unbeknown to Judith and George, the scammers were posing as customer support representatives from Apple and their bank.
In an interview with CBS Austin, Judith said: “At the time, we were so frightened, we didn’t think. I was on my tablet, and it just kept flashing back up at me, so I called the number and it said Apple customer support.”
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Once connected, she interacted with the fraudulent customer support representative before being transferred to another criminal impersonating a fraud officer from their bank.
“They proceeded to tell me there were charges on my account, quite a bit for child porn,” Judith said.
Following the alarming call, she was transferred yet again, this time to a third individual posing as a lawyer from the US Justice Department.
This scammer, claiming to be there to assist the couple, manipulated Judith into divulging her personal information.
Filled with fear, Judith and George were coerced into visiting their bank to withdraw their funds, as the scammers insisted that their Social Security numbers had been compromised.
Their were promised by the scammers that their money would be placed in a secure location for protection.
The criminals, posing as government agency representatives online, instructed the couple to proceed to a local Food Mart where a Bitcoin machine was located.
According to George, who was unfamiliar with Bitcoin, “This was our first dealing with Bitcoin, and we didn’t know what was involved. So in the course of the two days, they had us empty our account to the tune of $43,000.”
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