Mercer County computer scam spotlights vulnerable victims

Local News

Police in Mercer County are investigating a computer scam that targeted a woman

Phone Scam Alert

Credit: Andranik Hakobyan/iStock/Getty Images

WILMINGTON TWP., Pa. (WKBN) – Police in Mercer County are investigating a computer scam that targeted a woman who turned over her banking account information and $500 in eBay gift cards.

According to a police report, a woman was on her computer last week when a pop-up ad came on the screen with a woman’s voice saying she was from Microsoft and that the victim had a virus on her computer that would take $250 to fix.

The scammer told the woman to purchase $250 in eBay gift cards from Dollar General and then called the woman on her cellphone and directed her to scratch off the account numbers and read them to her over the phone.

As part of the scam, the caller told the woman the account numbers wouldn’t validate and directed her to buy another $250 in eBay gift cards from Rite Aid and relay the account numbers.

The scammer then told the woman that her money would be refunded and that a total of $850 would be deposited into her bank account, but they needed her checking account number and bank information, which she provided.

The victim’s daughter learned of the phone calls and canceled her mother’s accounts.

This scam is a reminder that companies will never ask you to purchase gift cards for payment of services.

Scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. They may try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts. 

The Federal Trade Commission offers tips to avoid scams, how to recognize one and where to report it. To learn more, go to ftc.gov.

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