A new take on an old scam has been reported in Central Oregon. The thieves are targeting seniors by getting them to buy gift cards.
While there have been many similar scams, this one involves the victim’s computer and child pornography.
“One of the reasons why this scam has been particularly successful is because it is very sophisticated and it is occurring frequently in our community,” Information and Referral Specialist for the Council on Aging of Central Oregon, Alison McKinney said.
Here’s how it works: warnings pop-up while surfing the web saying your IP address has been hacked. That pop-up will include a phone number to call to fix it.
“They tell them that their computer has been targeted by the FBI because there’s child pornography that has been ordered from that IP address to be downloaded on that computer,” McKinney said
The scammer tells the victim that there’s only one way to stop the illegal content from being downloaded.
“They’re asked to go buy gift cards so that they clean out their account,” McKinney said. “When they do that, they’re told to call back and scratch the number off the card and read it to the person the phone.”
Once the scammers have that card number, that money is theirs.
Council on Aging of Central Oregon says people have had $900 to more than $40,000 stolen from them through this scam.
If you believe you have been a victim of this scam or any others, you should first contact your bank and ask if there’s any protection it can offer. Second, go to the Oregon State Attorney’s Officer of Consumer Protection and Fraud.
Anyone who receives a phone call or a computer alert regarding anything that claims a system of theirs has been hacked should not respond.