Savannah woman refuses to be scammed as Attorney General’s Office warns of new schemes targeting seniors

Consumer Report

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Tammy Lee wasn’t that surprised when she received a phone call on one of her cell phones Thursday morning. She didn’t recognize the number so did not answer.

But when she received a call from the same number on her second phone, she did answer. Lee tells News 3 it was a man telling her she needed technical support on her computer.

From the beginning, Lee knew it was not on the “up and up” but played along and even taped the call. On the recording, you can hear the man tell her she needs to download a program. She knew that was a bad idea.

“He would have been able to see everything on my computer, my emails, everything,” said Lee.

About the time Lee was taping the phone call, News 3 was reading a warning from the Georgia Attorney General Office about scams targeting seniors right now. The office’s Consumer Protection Division is offering information and advice.

It says there is now a scam about “fake” COVID-19 vaccine trials and that bogus websites, and even promotional messages, have been created.

Those messages include offers to pay someone up to $1,000 for participating in a vaccine trail. But to qualify you will be asked for your Social Security number, bank account information or credit card information, which may mean you end up paying for something that isn’t real.

You may also receive an email message that contains a link that will download malware onto your computer which will allow them to steal any account numbers or passwords that may be stored on your device.

The Consumer Protection Division says: Real clinical trials will never ask you for any payment to participate and if you do receive such a message, do not click on any links, give out your Social Security number or provide financial information. If you are asked to provide your bank account information so you can receive payment for your participation, ask the company to mail you a check instead.

Lee wasn’t happy when she heard about that scam, especially after her morning phone call. “We’re suffering as a country with COVID and then to be subjected to someone trying to rip you off, I guess we are just targets,” she told us.

During the six-minute phone call she taped, the man asked her to download something he said would allow them to give her a refund. Lee knew it was more about getting access to her computer and even told him. He quickly hung up.

Lee says she’s worried about people of any age that might receive a call like the one she got or calls about other scams. “I’m concerned about anyone who may be a victim.”

You can contact the Consumer Protection Division at 404-651-8600 with concerns about scams. You can also download a copy of the Georgia Consumer Protection Guide for Older Adults.

More scams to be aware of according to the Consumer Protection Division:

Economic Impact Payment

The text contains a link to a fake website that asks for bank account information so the payment can allegedly be directly deposited to your account. Scammers then use the information to steal money from your bank account

Gift Card Scams

Gift cards have become a preferred method of payment for scammers because it’s almost impossible to get your money back or trace them to the scammer. Popular gift cards that scammers request include iTunes, GooglePlay and Amazon. Many types of scams may insist that you pay via gift card, including utility scams, IRS scams, Social Security scams, tech support scams and more. It’s easy to avoid these scams if you remember that legitimate entities will never ask you to pay via gift cards, prepaid cards or wire transfer.

Grandparent and Virtual Kidnapping Scams

In these scams, fraudsters use scare tactics to try to get you to pay a large sum of money –typically via wire transfer or gift cards – to rescue a loved one who is in a dire situation. They may pose as your grandchild, a friend of his/hers or a police officer. They tell you that your grandchild is badly hurt or in jail and that you must send money immediately to help him/her. In a similar scam, con artists claim to have kidnapped your loved one and insist that he or she will be harmed unless you pay a ransom immediately.

Medicare Enrollment Scams

In this imposter scam, con artists try to steal your Medicare account number in order to commit fraud. They will call you, purporting to be a Medicare advisor and ask you to provide your Medicare account number for verification purposes. Do not give out your account number. Real Medicare representatives already have this information.

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