CATAWISSA BOROUGH, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Catawissa Borough resident called the police on Saturday, stating they had been scammed and a large amount of money was stolen.
The Catawissa Borough Police Department received a report on Saturday, that a resident was scammed out of $35,000. The female victim stated, that on Saturday morning she was checking emails and a ‘security message’ telling her to contact Microsoft immediately at 1-845-237-5714.
According to a press release, the victim called the number and spoke to someone who told her, that her computer had been hacked.
The victim was then transferred to someone who pretended to be from Bank of America, telling her the victim her Mastercard was charged $9,000 and her Visa card had been charged $18,000 to a pornographic website.
The victim doesn’t know this is still all part of the scam and she was told in order to stop the charges was to purchase gift cards, to match the amount taken.
Police say the victim was told to purchase gift cards from Lowe’s in Buckhorn, and she was not allowed to call anyone else or hang up the phone, because her cell phone and house phone were being monitored.
Officials say, the victim drove to Lowe’s and purchased one gift card in the amount of $1,000, with her Mastercard. This prompted Lowe’s employees to warn her of a possible scam and would not allow her to buy any more gift cards.
The victim went back to her car where the scammer was waiting on the phone line. When the victim picked up the phone she informed the scammer that she was only able to purchase one gift card, so the scammer then told her to drive to Home Depot and make up a story as to why she needed gift cards but wasn’t allowed to tell anyone the truth, the press release reads.
According to Columbia County Crimewatch, the victim purchased four gift cards in the amount of $2,000 each, totaling $8,000. The victim said she was then instructed to give the scammer the gift card numbers and then destroy the gift cards and the receipts, which she then did.
The victim said she was also told to go back into Home Depot to a different register and purchase nine more gift cards at $2,000 each, to which the victim complied.
Later on, when the victim returned home, she said she was contacted by the scammer again. This time the victim was told her Service First Debit Card was Compromised and that she needed to purchase more gift cards to correct the situation.
Thinking it was suspicious, the victim spoke with her sister, who thought something didn’t seem right, but they both drove to JC Penny, where the victim was told to purchase eight more gift cards for $1,000 each, totaling $8,000.
The scammer tried to contact the victim Sunday morning from 1-805-429-0662, but the victim did not answer and later she and her sister reported the theft to the Catawissa Police Station.
Anyone with information regarding this individual or these incidents please contact the Catawissa Borough Police Department at 570-362-7102 or the non-emergency number at 570-784-6300.