Residents of Bethlehem, PA have recently been issued a warning by the local police department after as one of their own fell victim to a hacking scam, perpetrated by a group of three men posing as experienced Apple technicians.
It happened on a Tuesday. An elderly resident of Bethlehem was at home when he was contacted by scammers. However, Bethlehem local police were unclear as to whether they contacted the elder in person or by phone. Despite this vagueness, police did reveal that these false technicians introduced themselves as Justin Walker, Brian Ross, and Mark Williams. No further information has been revealed, so their physical appearance or any potentially identifying information is unknown. It is also unclear if there are any attempts being made to locate the perpetrators.
They told the elder that they were Apple computer repair technicians and that his computer had been hacked by Russian criminals who had done substantial damage to the software.
They then somehow persuaded the victim that their computer was in dire need of repairs, but they could only be paid in Apple gift cards. How they managed to convince the victim has not been released, but one thing is certain: they were allowed to access the both the victim’s computer and telephone landline. The amount they requested to make the “repairs” was $1,500. The fake techs were successful in fooling the victim, but he only bought $1,200.
Almost immediately, the imposter technicians redeemed the cards, stealing the victim’s money. They told the victim they started repairs, but unfortunately could only completely fix his computer if the remaining $300 was paid. The technicians continually harassed the victim throughout the day, calling about 20 times in order to get him to fork over the money.
The victim did not do so and finally went to the police, where he filed a report.
Police think this crime was carried out by “Russian criminals.” How they came to this conclusion has not been divulged.
Investigations are pending, and efforts are being made to raise awareness regarding the nature and tactics of scammers. They also urge those who are not tech-savvy to be careful.
Russian criminals or not, scammers often target the elderly, who are frequently inexperienced with computers and out-of-touch with well-known hacking scams. Because of this, they commonly fall prey to scammers, who seize the opportunity by taking as much as they can before they wise up. Readers may recall the infamous Nigerian prince e-mail scam that conned countless victims out of their money and had the nation in shock.
Make no mistake, though–scammers are extremely experienced and are trained to seem legitimate. It can happen to anybody, at any time.
Bethlehem police urge residents of the city to contact them if they fear they might have been a victim as well. They are also telling individuals to be careful and to not give any money out if they are solicited by someone. Apple computer repair technicians will never show up on your doorstep in groups of three, nor contact you about hackers.