Authorities are issuing a warning to local residents after an 80-year-old Rancho Cucamonga man was scammed out of about $10,000 on Sept. 4, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputy Chapman of the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department investigated the case and learned the victim wanted to cancel a computer service subscription he had with Best Buy.
The victim located a phone number on the internet he thought was for Best Buy services and called it. Under direction from the person on the other end, the victim was told to use both cash and credit cards to purchase about $10,000 in Apple gift cards in order to cancel his subscription.
The victim complied and relayed the numbers on the back of the cards over the phone to the person pretending to be a Best Buy representative.
By the time the victim realized the number he called was fraudulent and that he had been scammed, the gift cards had already been redeemed for their monetary value.
Suspects use many different scenarios in order to scam citizens, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
“Suspects may call, falsely represent themselves, and threaten to take people to jail. They may say they are with the IRS and threaten the victim, claiming they owe money, or they may claim to be a utility company attempting to collect on a past due account. Each of these scams will typically have these things in common: the situation must be handled urgently, and the suspects will demand Apple or Green Dot gift cards, or some type of cyber currency like Bitcoin for payment,” the Sheriff’s Department said.
“Please be aware of these scams and don't become a victim. Legitimate businesses won't ask for gift cards or cyber currency as payment. Additionally, law enforcement will not call you, threaten you, or demand some kind of payment over the phone to remedy an issue. The IRS won't call you for past due taxes and demand payment over the phone, and utility companies will always allow you to call or access their service centers to make any past due payments.
“Lastly, if you do believe it may be a legitimate creditor reaching out to you, tell them you'll call them back. Hang up and contact them by using a phone number provided on your monthly statement or found on their legitimate website. Do not call them back at a number they provide, as it may be fraudulent and part of their scam.”