Circling the News received an email from a smart local resident, who had just been conned.
“I received an email from our son, but it was actually from a scammer,” ‘Bob’ Smith wrote. “I thought I was communicating with my son.”
The son’s actual email was firstname.lastname@example.org, but the scammer’s email was email@example.com@fafm.
Although Bob thought he was communicating with his adult child, the conversation was actually between Bob and the scammer.
When the son asked for dad to order him some Home Depot cards, Bob didn’t give it a second thought. He went onto the Home Depot site, purchased them and sent them via email to his “son,” who was actually the scammer.
Ever grateful, the scammer sent Bob an email thanking him for the cards and how much he appreciated the gift.
It was only an hour later, when the “son” asked for additional cards, that Bob realized this could be a scam.
“I went to my credit card website and found that the four gift cards had already been deposited by Home Depot,” Bob said. “I tried to cancel the transaction, but because Home Depot was a legitimate account, the credit card company would not cancel the order. They said my only recourse is to dispute the charge when the money is taken from my credit card company.”
Bob found that a money card can be sold for cash at a discount online.
Bob said he contacted the Federal Trade Commission and also an anti-phishing group, “but I’m not sure anything will come of it. The person I spoke to at the credit company said they have been inundated with all kinds of scams, more than ever.”
Bob added, “Please warn your readers about the danger of these online scams and maybe save some unwary person some big money. I lost about $600.”
Readers, make it clear to all your children, family and relatives you will give no money over the internet, without speaking to them in person first. Check email addresses carefully, so that you don’t automatically click on an email that could be a scammer. The Federal Trade Commission said that people lost $57 million to phishing schemes in one year.
(Editor’s note: We thank Bob for sharing his experience. If you have been scammed let me know. I will keep identities private but would like to warn others of the evil that lurks on the internet.)