A Michigan woman lost her job, husband, and $30,000 all within 13 days.
NBC 12 reports Christina Ihlenfeldt said she now feels foolish after falling for a Best Buy “Geek Squad” scam. Her husband, Bob, passed away on August 6. On August 17, she lost her job.
On August 19, a message alerted on Bob’s cellphone, indicating his current subscription to Geek Squad had auto-renewed for two years. Ihlenfeldt called the number provided on the message because she didn’t want the $300 renewal charge.
The scammer told Ihlenfeldt he would refund her money, then asked her if her computer had been running slow.
“I just thought, ‘OK, he’s gonna look at my computer,’” Ihlenfeldt told the outlet. “It never dawned on me.”
The scammer then told Ihlenfeldt he accidentally refunded $30,000 and pleaded with her to let him fix the amount so he wouldn’t get fired. She looked at her account and saw a deposit of $30,000.
“As he typed in $300, there was no decimal point. $30,000 had indeed been deposited into my account. What was I to think at that point?” Ihlenfeldt said. “He says, ‘I’m going to get in trouble if the company finds out, so we need to act on this.’ I had just lost my job and was thinking, ‘I don’t want this poor man to lose his job.’”
However, once the man had access to Ihlenfeldt’s computer, he logged into her husband’s bank account and transferred $30,000 from Bob’s account into her account. He then showed Ihlenfeldt a Chase Bank for Business account for GeekSquadLLC with a $30,000 transaction.
Ihlenfeldt went to her local bank and wired the money back to a Mellon Bank account in New York. The scammer continued the ruse afterward, even offering condolences about her husband.
“‘Thank you, ma’am, for being so honest. God will bless you. Thank you for helping us to get our money back. We know you’re a widow. We know that this is money that you need,’” the man told her.
According to Macomb Daily, the scammer who “spoke perfect English with a touch of an Indian accent,” had a phone number with a 239 area code.
“It’s embarrassing. I’m intelligent. I’m a grad student and I’m a good person. But there were so many red flags. I’m a widow, and you’d think people would be more compassionate. They caught a nice, caring, compassionate woman, and they didn’t care. I have to be more savvy.”
The FBI is currently looking into the case, but she’s not sure yet if anything can be done. The money was last traced to a Thailand bank.
Ihlenfeldt’s cousin, Alicia Bova, set up a GoFundMe page to help her recoup some of the money.
Meanwhile, Ihlendfeldt is hoping others can learn from her mistakes. For those who’ve already been duped, she wants them to know they aren’t alone.
“I would tell people who are in a situation like this that they are not alone. Don’t feel like you’re alone. I didn’t call or tell anybody. People in this situation need to get help from others.”
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[Feature Photo: Christina & Bob Ihlenfeldt/GoFundMe]