In a surprising turn of events, a scammer used Uber to pick up an 80-year-old woman from her house to get her to the bank to rip her off. When the elderly woman responded to the precisely timed email, the scammer sent an Uber to her home to get her to wire the money through the bank. Though it sounds like something you only see in movies, the actual horrors of the scam could have been detrimental. Here’s the whole story about the potential fraud.
Here’s how the scam started
Former music instructor turned app developer Travis Hardaway shared the incident about his mother where the 80-year-old woman replied to an email inquiry about the dishwasher set from BestBuy/GeekSquad. The family was considering purchasing a new dishwasher after the old one stopped operating. While looking for one, Travis’s mother received an email that she mistook for the email about the installation of her dishwasher.
Hardaway’s mother called the number listed on the fake BestBuy email, and where the scammer explained to her that she needed to pay USD 160 for the setup. The scammers also asked her to install remote access software on her computer so they could help her make the payment. The email went just in time, and the elderly woman did everything the scammer instructed.
At this point, the scam started as a tech support attack but soon escalated into something more serious. Hardaway said that after his mother installed the program, the scammers launched their scripts to manipulate the website’s design. Instead of making her pay USD 160 for the dishwasher delivery, the scammer claimed that they accidentally transferred USD 160,000 into her account. They then requested her to return the accidentally transferred money to them.
The scammer uses Uber to pick up the elderly woman
Usually, in these cases, hackers take access to victims’ accounts and wipe out the bank balances by wiring money to some fraudulent account. However, this scammer used a different strategy—one of the most creative ones we’ve seen.
After making a panic-like situation about the accidental transfer of USD 160,000, the scammer then asked her to transfer the money back to them. Hardaway’s mother was not tech-savvy, so the hackers used a different approach.
Instead of directly stealing money via online methods, they asked her to go to the bank, and when the elderly woman replied that she couldn’t drive, the scammer said, ‘No problem, we’re sending Uber to help you get to the bank.'”
Hardaway said that he was out of town during this conversation, but eventually, his mother gave up trying to help the scammers and went to her neighbor’s house. She then discovered that all the interactions she had with the individual posing as a BestBuy employee had been nothing but an online scam.