NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) —“They didn’t miss a beat.”
That’s how a Nashville woman describes her phone call conversations with scammers who claimed her identity was stolen. She is now warning others after she handed over her entire life savings.
Rachel Smith documented it all after she received a phone call from someone who claimed to be an officer with border patrol in El Paso, Texas.
“She said there was a package seized that was coming from my name and address and inside it had documents and narcotics,” Smith said.
It was a case of identity theft. Well, that’s what she was told after she was contacted by someone who claimed they worked for the Office of Inspector General.
“Artificial intelligence is so scary now because they made online profiles for these people. Everything checked out,” Smith said.
In order to safeguard her money, she was instructed to pull out $10,000 at a time and put it into Bitcoin machines.
“Thursday, she said I have turned in all of your files and everything has been approved you will get a phone call from a DEA officer by 11 A.M. tomorrow on where you need to meet them so you can pick up the check,” Smith said.
Instead, she received a call from her bank that someone was trying to access her account. “At first, I felt stupid, I’m a very intellectual person. I thought how could this happen to me?” Smith said.
“In general losses of scams since pre-Covid are up exponentially 50, 60, 70%,” said Robyn Householder, President and CEO with BBB Middle Tennessee.
Robyn Householder with the Better Business Bureau said scammers are only becoming more intricate.
“They had all of my information, my social, my address, my birth date. And by the time they hacked into my phone,” Smith said.
While Smith believes she will never see her money again, she said it’s important to share her story. “Between my background of finance, and my mom’s in investigation, I was just appalled at how intricate this was and I wanted to tell my story because I don’t want it to happen to anybody else.”
Smith said she has called the FBI and was told there was nothing they could do.
Householder told News 2 most of the time these scammers are from overseas. She pointed out that the federal government will never call you in a case with such serious allegations. Instead, they would show up at your door.