A family in Southern California has issued a warning after their elderly father fell victim to an online scam, losing $20,000. According to ABC7, the victim, an 83-year-old man, had initially purchased a cyber protection package from InstaFix US LLC for $900 in April — Six months later, he received a call from someone claiming to be from the same company, informing him that the company was going out of business and that he was due a refund.
Trusting the caller, the victim allowed them access to his computer and Bank of America accounts through a provided code. Unbeknownst to the victim, this granted the scammers control over his computer through remote desktop access. They initiated a test transfer of $200 but then claimed to have mistakenly sent $20,000.
In a panic, the victim was eager to return the alleged excess funds. However, the scammers had merely shifted money between the victim’s own accounts without his awareness. The scammers guided the victim through withdrawing the money in two smaller amounts from separate bank branches. A man arrived at the victim’s home to collect the cash.
The victim’s wife became suspicious and attempted to intervene, taking photos of the incident with her cell phone. Unfortunately, the victim remained convinced that he was returning money that wasn’t his, unaware that it was his own funds.
InstaFix US denied any involvement in the fraud, asserting that they only accept payments via legitimate methods such as credit cards or checks in their company name. They claimed to have no knowledge of the fraudulent activity reported by the victim.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case as a crime, while Bank of America urged customers to be vigilant for common scam red flags, such as calls or messages playing on emotions and pressuring for immediate action. Despite the incident, the victim continued to receive calls from the same numbers in the following weeks, which he wisely chose to ignore. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of online scams, especially when targeting vulnerable individuals.