A woman from Cosby wants you to hear her story after losing more than $600 to scammers.
She believed she was on the phone with someone from Apple, Inc. after contacting them for help with her iPhone.
At her home in Cosby, Cindy Whitehead uses her smartphone as a main source of internet connection.She looked up Apple online last month and believed she had found the site that would lead her to customer service. However, Mrs. Whitehead never imagined she was about to be scammed.
“I wanted to get my music that was stored in the Cloud onto my device, I had gotten a new phone. So I was going to call Apple to do that,” said Cindy Whitehead.
Once on the phone, a man said he could assist. Cindy was given directions to follow.
“‘Is there a Walgreens or CVS nearby where you could go to the store and get an iTunes card? That way we will make you a Pro member and it won’t cost anything and we can immediately reimburse you,’ is what he said.”
There’s a Walgreens in Newport, about ten miles from her home. Cindy went there believing the transfer would be quick and easy.
“He told me to go in there and look at the cards, he was on the phone with me. He said just pick up a $50 card, call me after you pay for it and get back in your vehicle. I was going to be reimbursed and I thought I was talking to Apple.”
While giving him the numbers to the iTunes card, Cindy had a question.
“I was paying 99 cents a month for storage, I had gotten a new phone and I did not need that storage on the old phone and I wanted to end that. He said, no problem, we can help you end that. You need to go into the store again and purchase another card…”
She returned a second time and bought a hundred dollar iTunes card.
“So I’ve spent a hundred and fifty dollars with them for two things. He said, ‘let me talk with my supervisor and we will reimburse you.’ So after a minute he comes back on and said, Have you seen a message from me yet,”
Cindy saved that message: “Dear customer, Apple has deposited 500 dollars in your Master credit card ending with….”
She called the guy back with the information.
“So, I read it to him. He said, ‘Oh, no, five hundred dollars, I’ve made a mistake. You, you need to help us out. Can you please help me out, this is my job at stake, this is how I make a living.’ (Then he wanted me to) reimburse him for his mistake, he said,’ Yes, you need to go back in, please if you would. Please. And I go into the store a third time to get a $300 Google card,” Cindy said.
Still believing she’d be reimbursed, Cindybought more cards, $300 worth. She said it was the next conversation that made no sense.
“Then after buying the fourth card, he was telling me security said you have used your card in the same store four times and it’s raised a red flag with your credit card company, you need to go to a different store and buy a different card there…”
Within minutes another guy called and left this message: “Hi, this is Kevin from Apple. I think you tried reaching us…”
“Kevin” was supposedly from security, said he needed another $200, but Cindy didn’t send it.
Then the scammer asked her to return an over-seas number.
Cindy spent more than an hour outside the store and lost $650.
Eventually, she got in touch with the real Apple. They stopped payment on $100 iTunes card that had not been processed yet.
You want others to learn what from your costly lesson.
“To be very careful in dealing with anybody over the phone. When you go looking online for something you are interested in, make sure it is their ad,” cautions Cindy.