CENTERVILLE, Utah – A 70-year-old woman is voicing a word of warning after she almost fell victim to a scam.
Sandy Boyd of Centerville has been targeted by phone scammers before. She said she knows to avoid calling people back who claim to be with the IRS. What she hadn’t heard of was a scam hidden behind the title of technical support.
“I couldn’t believe I had been so gullible,” Boyd said.
Sandy was on Facebook over the summer when she clicked on an ad for an article. That's when her computer screen suddenly turned red.
“And I had no more use of my curser or anything and there was, an insert that said Microsoft, and it explained that my computer had been violated so on so forth - call technical support,” Boyd recalled.
She called the number and was greeted by a voice saying they could fix it. But it would come at a price.
“And I thought it was for real and I said well how do you want this money paid? Cause I wanted my computer back,” Boyd said.
The scammers asked that Boyd put $200 on an iTunes card. She was then to call them back, read them the code on the card and they would access the money, Boyd said.
“I said to myself, this is not for real because Microsoft would have no arrangement with Apple,” she said.
Despite knowing it was a scam, Boyd played along to get more information about the so-called technical support. Then she called her grandson.
"And he said Grandma you’ve been hacked and he said unplug the internet immediately," Boyd said.
Her grandson was able to fix her computer but the hackers, known as vaindee llc, claimed they fixed it. They called for weeks asking for various forms of payment.
“We fixed your computer. This call is about the check you were supposed to mail us,” said the scammers in a voicemail.
“Certainly if you’re not going after information like hey I don’t think my computer is broken down - but yet somebody is telling me that it is - if you’re not going to them, they’re coming to you, be very careful,” said Michael Hussey, chief information officer for the state of Utah.
Thankfully, Boyd didn't pay the scammers a dime.
Instead, with the help of her grandson, she reported the scammers to the FBI and Consumer Protection Agency.