ON YOUR SIDE: New scams and what to look out for

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Monday, January 14, 2019
News 12 at 6/NBC at 7

When it comes to scams you've probably heard it all. It seems like every week there's a new one out there people are falling for.

It's because the scammers are evolving with the times. They are using the phone and the web to scam you out of money.

When Waunice Aldrige picks up the phone,

"My girls told me to stop answering the phone," said Aldrige.

She answers with a little apprehension.

"Every time I do I think scam," said Aldrige.

Mrs. Aldrige tells News 12 her story of when she thought her granddaughter was calling her, saying she was in trouble and then you'll understand why.

"And she says I have bad news. She had an accident and she is in holding being held," said Aldrige. “My granddaughter didn't want my daughters to know because they would get upset..blah, blah. Good story.”

A story with a request for bond money.

"I said well how can I get $2,000 to you,” said Aldrige.

Ms. Aldridge was getting scammed. She thought something was off. Walmart felt the same when she showed up trying to load $2,000 on a gift card.

"Well, Walmart won't do it. Thank goodness," said Aldrige.

But she says CVS would.

Kelly: How do you feel that they took advantage of you and how you feel about your grandkids?
Aldrige: Oh, it's a horror. It's an absolute horror.

But she's not alone. In the last 6 months, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigated 38 scams.

Six of them were scammers allegedly preying on grandparents. One Columbia County grandma lost more than $9,000 to a scammer

"It's not quite as rare as you think it is," said William Bonsack, with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

A lot of these cases involved gift cards. Once you tell the person on the phone the card numbers there's not much investigators can do for you.

“One of the guys told me good luck I am down in Jamaica come find me,” said Bonsack.

The other big scams, the IRS calling or phishing emails and pop-ups.

“It's Ransome ware. A pop up that shows up on your screen or it's a full screen. That locks up your browser and you have to call a phone number for tech support from supposedly Microsoft,” said Joel Richardson, the computer exchange lead technician.

It can look legit.

"But in reality, it's a third party company trying to scam you for your money," said Richardson.

One Columbia County man lost more than $1,000 to it.

Mrs. Aldridge still hasn't gotten her money back but she says she's learned a big lesson.

Kelly: You think you would fall for it again?
Aldrige: Lord I hope not.

These folks are tricky by nature but here are some things to live by. No legit business will have you pay by gift card.

If someone is claiming to be your grandkid, IRS, or law officials, hang up, look up the listed number and call back to ask.