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'My scam sensors were slow': How one woman lost $3,000

Phone AP
Posted at 4:00 AM, Sep 05, 2022

A lot of Arizonans are getting a text, an email, or a call about a fraudulent charge.

It says your credit account has just been charged to renew some service, and if it's a mistake, they leave a number for you to call.

Others are getting invoices from Geek Squad, a legitimate service of Best Buy. It might say your yearly protection plan is expiring today and will auto-renew for $325, or it could say the plan has been renewed and your account was charged $239.

Even if you never had a plan, if you think you're paying for something you didn't order, it's upsetting.

You'd take action.

And scammers know that.

They're using many real business names to lure you.

Moriah got an urgent email saying she was being charged $453 for her Norton Antivirus protection.

She never used Norton.

Charlynn got a call that there was a $1,000 fraudulent charge on her Amazon account.

To dispute it, they wanted her to "download a program giving him access to control my laptop." She refused.

Each of the fake invoices has a number to call and dispute the charge.

Shirley tells me she made that call. To get her refund, Shirley gave the man access to her computer and bank account as instructed.

But she says "when entering the amount of the refund fee, it changed from $399 owed, to $3,999."

So, they somehow made it appear they gave Shirley an extra $3,000 and they wanted it back.

To do that, she'd have to buy gift cards. That's when she hung up.

It's something Kaarina wishes she had done.

Kaarina let me know her PayPal account had supposedly been charged $584 for something she didn't buy. For a refund, she says she was instructed to download an "anydesk" app.

Again, scammers showed they supposedly overpaid her.

They wanted Kaarina to buy six gift cards to repay — and she bought them, spending $500 each.

Kaarina lost $3,000.

Just like sending money through a cash app, once you give someone gift card codes, it's like sending cash. You won't get it back.

If you get something about a bogus charge you need to dispute, don't call.

Instead, if you think there's an issue, check it out through the business contacts you know are legit.

Are you a problem solver? Do you like helping others fight for what's theirs? We're looking for new Let Joe Know/Better Business Bureau volunteers. If interested, email me with your contact information: