During his weekly press briefings, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson announced Wednesday, Sept. 2 another scam that aims to swindle people out of money using popup windows online.
Recently, a 69-year-old man and a 66-year-old wife were almost scammed out of $24,000. Swanson said the wife was looking at her Chase Bank account online when a popup window appeared on her screen that said her account was compromised.
“She worked with the ‘bank’ in order to try to navigate through her account so she could fix her account. All the while this was happening, another person in another country was working through her account to transfer money from her real Chase account into a phantom account across the ocean,” he said. “That amount of money was $24,000.”
Hours later, she received another message that her account had issues and that she needed to freeze it and put the money in a different account.
This was a scam.
Only minutes after the couple left the bank, they received a call from Chase Bank and an employee told them they were being scammed. The couple returned to the bank.
“The money was transferred, but before the last step happened through Chase Bank, they were able to stop it and this couple were able to keep their $24,000,” Swanson said. “It’s a great ending, but it doesn’t happen like that all the time.”
Swanson warned against popup windows. “If you have any popup screens that come up about account verification that you’re not 100 percent on, then you call that branch, you call the organization firsthand, you go there and you validate if this account was really compromised,” he said.
In the fall, they expect people to get messages that claim, “You haven’t paid your Consumers Energy bill in six months. If you don’t pay it, we’ll shut your power off.” But these could be a scam. People also get messages such as, “There’s an arrest warrant out for you because you failed to appear for jury duty. If you want to pay your bond, pay it over the phone right now.”
Swanson warns that these are “all scams.”
“We keep hammering the message because it still happens,” he said.
The entire press briefing can be viewed at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.