Brampton woman robbed of more than $12,000 in computer scam
Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, August 9, 2018 8:01PM EDT
A Brampton woman is fighting with her bank and credit card company after a computer scam robbed her of more than $12,000.
Brampton resident Betti Seale was searching job sites on her laptop computer in March when her screen went red. A loud audio message popped up telling her not to shut down her computer and to call a specific number to get the problem resolved.
“It was really loud. It scared me,” she told CTV News Toronto.
Seale said she called the number and was told by someone over the phone that her computer was infected with a virus. She said she paid them $400 U.S. to remove it, but two months later the person called back saying they made a mistake and wanted to refund her $300.
“All of a sudden he started yelling and said ‘oh no, I made a mistake.’ He said ‘I gave you $13,000 instead of $300.’ And he started crying.”
Seale said she started getting text messages begging her for the return of the money. The text messages said the person was going to lose their job if they didn’t get the money back.
“I cannot give my childrens a good life and a good education. Please man. Please. I’m begging you,” the texts read.
She went to the bank and the funds were in her account, so she transferred the $13,000 back to the company.
Seale said she later learned that the people who fixed her computer had stolen her bank information and transferred money from her credit card into her account. The money she gave back was her own.
“When I got my bill I was like ‘what?’” Seal said. “I ran to the bank. They said you did a transfer from your Visa. I said no, that’s not what happened.”
“The bank teller should have seen that it came from my Visa to my account,” she said.
An expert with Redblack Cyber Security warns against providing financial information to someone you don’t know.
“This lady probably panicked a bit and she made the mistake of trusting people on the other end of the computer,” Benjamin Czepita-Wells said. “No bank or any legitimate company will take over your computer.”
Czepita-Wells said that all computer users should backup their computers on a regular basis and research the problem before contacting anyone.
Seale is in contact with police in California to try and track down the scammer. While she is responsible for the missing funds right now, she said she has no intention of paying them.
“I don’t have it. They aren’t going to get it,” she said.
-With files from CTV News Toronto's Pat Foran