Greenwood man loses $79,000 in scam

A Greenwood man lost $79,000 in a computer scam.

The man told sheriff’s deputies his computer froze, and his computer mouse moved by itself, followed by a popup advising him to contact Microsoft with a phone number below it. He called the number. The scammers told him his computer had been hacked, and they knew who he banked with and the last four digits of his bank account number, according to a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office report.

They also told the victim someone attempted to hack his account twice, and to protect his money, he needed to transfer money to another bank account, which was actually an offshore account set up by the scammers. The victim went to a bank branch in Southport, where he told an employee he needed to make a wire transfer to start a business with his daughter in Thailand, something the people on the phone instructed him to say, according to the report.

When the transfer didn’t go through due to a misspelled word, the scammers became angry, and the victim attempted again to transfer $79,000, this time successfully. The bank, aware of the fraud, is now working with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to try to get the victim his money back, the report shows.

People should be wary of anyone who calls them and asks them to stay on the line and go somewhere, such as a bank to make a wire transfer or a big box store to buy gift cards, said Damian Katt, investigations commander for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

“A legitimate company will never ask you to travel to a Target or big box store and ask you to buy hundreds of dollars in gift cards and ask you to scratch off the back and read the numbers to them,” Katt said. “If someone is asking you to stay on the phone, it’s a really good indication of a scam. They will have you stay on the line and direct you to take action like travel to a store or bank.”