In August, while checking her email, Deb (she prefers not to reveal her last name) was alarmed to read one she received that looked like it came from the online payment company PayPal.
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It said someone had accessed her PayPal account and taken $500 from her linked bank account.

Deb, a retired business owner in rural South Carolina, immediately called the phone number in the email to correct the issue. “The person was very professional,” she said.

After he told Deb they’d need information to refund her money (including access to her computer), “That raised a little red flag. But I’ve had remote computer work done and they had to have access to help me,” she said.

Over the next 2½ hours, Deb relinquished her bank account information, Social Security number and several passwords. She ultimately became suspicious and asked to speak to a manager. Another man got on the line. “I thought I was really talking to PayPal and they acted like they wanted to correct this,” said Deb.

The man from ‘PayPal’

This man then had her install an app on her phone. When she saw a $340 transaction come through it, “he told me not to worry about it, that it wasn’t meant for me,” said Deb. “He then told me I’d have to go to Walmart
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and buy a $500 gift card to get my money back. That’s when it clicked. I said, ‘I think this is a scam, I’m going to call my bank,’ and the man hung…

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