Computer Takeover

posted by on 1 October 2020

An individual located in North Dakota fell victim to computer takeover/wire fraud/gift card scam. The person’s computer froze with the instructions to call the number of their screen. After doing so, the person on the other end of the phone claimed to be with Microsoft. The imposter Microsoft employee told the caller to purchase gift cards as payment, in exchange to fix their computer issue. After the service was completed, the imposter assured the money would be refunded but they would need the customer’s bank information to do so.

Later, the customer did receive a wire into their account, however, it was for too much money. The imposter then asked for the extra funds to be sent to a bank overseas.

The scammers had been utilizing a compromised online bank account of a individual in a different state.

BEWARE: payment in the form of gift cards should always be a red flag. An employee of any legitimate business would never wire money back to the individual.

In the meantime, a representative of the bank in North Dakota contacted the out of state bank which originated the wire to verify the information. Through conversation the out of state bank confirmed one of their customers had their online banking information compromised and had requested a transfer from his savings account to checking account, which was followed by a wire to the customer of the North Dakota bank.

The North Dakota bank reported the fraud to local law enforcement and the customer's account was closed. The bank is returning the residual amount that wasn't spent to the out of state bank customer. Law enforcement advised if someone is buying more than $500 in gift cards, the person should be aware that it could be fraud.