I guess I’m a sitting target. I have almost been scammed again, but thanks to the commercial and financial geniuses who run the world, I’ve been saved.
It was the most elaborate scheme you can imagine, almost worthy of a sci-fi drama. Maybe it began as one.
My computer presented me a box with a message from Apple computers. I had been hacked, said a technician, and we had to fix it.
Pages and pages of numbers and letters followed, with directions to me to push this and punch that. I can’t remember it all, but some I wrote down.
The messages were coming from a man named Sim Phodes, Employee ID MAC7613 (probably fake).
For some reason, I believed everything he said and followed directions to the letter. This guy was good, ultimately talking on my landline phone, then my cellphone, for hours and hours.
His bottom-line statement was that I had been hacked by a Russian, and that $6,000 had been taken by him from my bank account. He didn’t have it yet, but he had been approved for the transfer. A photo of his driver’s license appeared on my computer screen. His name was Nicolai. Don’t remember the last name.
We had three hours to get the money back.
The way to do it, the tech insisted, was to buy $6,000 worth of gift cards. The guy suggested Kroger and, later, CVS, as places to buy.
I never did understand why to buy the gift cards, but I presumed that would come later. The man stayed on my cellphone and directed me through the night, store to store. I was to keep my phone in my pocket and not talk to him inside the store.
My story concerning the purchase of the card was that they were for my granddaughter who was getting married.
It was an emergency for her, of course, hence I was running around in the dark on a Saturday night.
Kroger’s discussed the matter, found that Visa rejected the funds I requested and turned me down flat for another try. They suspected fraud. I insisted it wasn’t.
At CVS, their machine also rejected a request to BBVA Compass. They also were wary.
The moral of the story is don’t trust your own judgement. The guardian angels at banks and credit card companies are watching after you.
In the CVS parking lot, it finally dawned on me that I was almost scammed. I told the guy I was through with his scam. He said he would call me tomorrow.
I hung him up. He hasn’t called back. No money lost.