TEGA CAY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – As the winter holidays approach scammers are praying on more of our finances.
One Tega Cay mom says she was left with nothing in her checking and savings accounts following a scam.
It was a regular Sunday afternoon for this Tega Cay mom. She took her sons on an outing and to the grocery store. Then something unusual happened.
“First a received a text message asking whether or not I had approved a request for a transfer of funds using Zelle,” says Tega Cay mom, Catherine Woods.
That call said “Wells Fargo” on caller ID and matched the number on the back of Catherine Wood’s debit card. A man claimed to be calling from the bank’s fraud department about some suspicious activity.
Catherine shares, “They were suspicious and he was just kind of going over, whether or not I had approved those, I of course had not.”
Catherine says she was on the Phone with the scammer for 31 minutes before she says thousands were drained from her checking and savings.
Catherine says, “What he said was the scammers were trying to drain my account using Zelle and what I needed to do to stop that from happening was to clear my account so that no funds could be taken out and then send the money directly back to myself.”
Once she sent the money back to herself and didn’t see it come back into her account she knew something was wrong. Officers at the Tega Cay Police Department say the closer we get to the holiday season the more creative scammers get. But they say they’re here to help.
Tega Cay Police Department’s Cpl. Steven Timbs, says, “Well in that situation you would have to report it to your local agency. You know for us, me being in digital forensics, I will do what I can to work with Zelle — if they want to play nice and help me out then I’m gonna hit them with some search warrants and information and stuff like that.”
Here are some tips to keep in mind. Keep yourself aware of new scams, search online to learn about new trends; reach out to law enforcement before you act, and if something sounds to goo to be true or fishy, trust your gut; and Catherine says, no matter what number calls you always be sure to hang up and call them back directly. Now, Catherine just wants to warn others.
“So…I’m just trying to be as positive about this experience as possible and you know, if I don’t get the money back at least hopefully, I can help other people you know not lose their money,” says Catherine.
In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with the mom about what she wants people to watch out for.