It all started with a Microsoft pop-up on 82-year-old George’s computer screen that wouldn’t go away.

Thinking it was genuine, George*, who was battling cancer, called the listed number for technical support and the person who answered requested remote access to his computer.

That pop-up and the resulting call to a purported Microsoft office led George and his wife Dorothy* on a journey through the murky world of internet scams.

Within 24 hours they had been scammed three times, lost $50,000 of their life savings, and were too embarrassed to even tell their children.

The first scam came when they were told their computer had a problem and they had to fill in a form to receive a $250 refund for the inconvenience.

Instead, $25,000 turned up in their bank account, which the technician told them was a mistake and begged them to transfer the money back, by going into a branch, which they did.

They were then instructed to go to another branch and transfer another $24,750 because the initial transfer had not gone through. By this time Dorothy’s patience was wearing thin.

“My husband is 82, he has got cancer and the next branch is on the other side of the city and you have to wait at the bank as there are no longer many tellers,” Dorothy told the man on the other end of the phone.

In return, he was calm, polite and insistent, and Dorothy believed there was no other choice.

George drove across town and did as he was instructed.

The couple was further hit when, suspecting it was a…

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