Sophisticated scammer tricks Harrison woman into providing her most personal information
Debbie Gates didn't think twice about picking up the phone when caller I.D. said the person dialing in was with Apple Incorporated.
But she wasn't talking to someone who was trying to help - they were trying to hack her information.
If it's a number she doesn't recognize, Debbie Gates doesn't usually pick up the phone.
"It said Apple Incorporated and it had a 615 number on it," said Gates.
But the caller seemed legitimate.
Apple Incorporated was on the caller I.D. and it had a Nashville area code.
"It said press one if you have an Apple device, because your apple device has been hacked. So, I pressed one," said Gates.
A man claiming to work for Apple Support told Gates her account had been compromised.
And he needed to help by remotely controlling her devices.
"He said 'You see the mouse moving? That's me.'"
For more than an hour, she exchanged personal information like her email, passwords, and zip code.
Taylor Jenkins is the service manager at Simply Mac in Chattanooga.
He says it's a red flag if Apple calls you.
"Usually Apple would never ever reach out, or an authorized Apple provider would never reach out to anyone to get personal information," said Jenkins.
Once a scammer has your information, things get tricky.
"At that point it's out there, just like if anybody compromised your debit by just stealing it, or your credit by just stealing it," said Jenkins.
Luckily, Gates didn't give out anything connected to her bank account.
She realized it was a scam when the man on the other end of the phone asked her to buy three $100 Google Play gift cards.
She said no.
"He got really upset and then gave me a phone number, and he said you need to call me back within an hour, and you need to leave me in your computer, so that I can clean it up," said Gates.
Actually, it's time for Gates to clean up.
The real Apple experts told her to change all of her passwords.
"I'm even embarrassed telling, but I don't want it to happen to anyone else. And I certainly do not want people to spend the money and lose it. That's horrible," said Gates.
Gates warns the next time 'Apple' pops up on your screen, just let it ring.
Gates says she's going to file a police report.