Near-victim of phishing scam shares story to warn others

A man says scammers accessed his computer and his bank account after he clicked a link and called a number in an email.
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With scammers constantly seeking opportunities to steal personal information and money, a Wichita man shared a recent experience with hopes of keeping others from becoming victims. While the scammers walked away without getting the man’s money, they did gain access to his computer and bank account.

After the phishing attempt, the man, Larry, and his wife had to set up a new bank account, reset all of their direct deposits and get their computer cleared of malware. The phishing emails flood inboxes, claiming to be from companies many do business with daily.

An email that caught Larry’s eye claimed to be from Best Buy’s Geek Squad. The message said he was being charged for separate virus protection.

“I was trying to cancel because virus protection for three years, $349, is quite a bit,” Larry said.

So, he called the phone number given in the email and that directed him to another number to call.

“(They) had my name, my address, where I banked, knew that I was with the Geek Squad,” Larry said. “They knew I had total tech support and knew I had an automatic payment coming out.”

He said they gained access to his computer and bank account and began to demand that he send money. Larry said he refused and hung up.

“I deleted the email, I deleted everything right then and shut everything off and got my little rear to the bank.”

Larry said a “refund” involved the scammers moving money from one of his accounts to another.

The Better Business Bureau said these phishing emails are a common sight.

“Scammers know they have access to make these phishing attempts look as legitimate and credible as possible, so you may see the company logo. You may see the company email address,” said BBB Kansas Region Vice President Denise Groene.

Groene advises not to click on links or call included phone numbers in any email that appears to be from a business or service you use. Instead, you should log into your account directly or call numbers listed by the company on its website.

Another suggestion from Groene is to hover over the link you see in an email, but don’t click on it. By doing this, the link where it actually takes you will appear at the bottom of the screen.

“(If an) email claims to be from UPS and you hover over that link and is not the first thing you see, more than likely that is a phishing attempt,” Groene said.

Larry said he hopes his experience will educate others.

“Like I told my wife, that ain’t gonna happen again,” he said.