Crime

Here’s how a woman was scammed out of $800 in Myrtle Beach

File photo - (Courtney Perry/Dallas Morning News/MCT)
File photo - (Courtney Perry/Dallas Morning News/MCT)

If someone calls you and gives you a random reason behind depositing a check in your bank account, just know it’s probably too good to be true — and someone is likely trying to scam you.

At least that was the case for a 60-year-old woman who went to Myrtle Beach police Friday morning after she had been tricked into buying eight $100 Apple iTunes gift cards, according to an incident report.

The woman told the officer that on Nov. 1, she received a call from a man “with an accent” who said his name was “Henry James,” the report states.

“James” told the woman he was offering a loan but needed to verify her bank account information. Police say she gave him her name, address, social security number and bank account details.

The next day, “James” called the woman back and told her he deposited $800 in her account.

“He said something about Apple having a promotion to pay a needed fee for the loan,” the officer wrote in the report, then told the woman she needed to go to Walmart, buy eight $100 iTunes gift cards and then contact him once she left the store.

The officer said she bought the gift cards using her debit card and then sent “James” texts of the gift cards including the scratched-off numbers needed to redeem them.

On Friday, “James” called again. Police say the deposit into the woman’s account was a mobile check, which would cause her account balance to be “inflated” by the check amount until it finally settled.

The officer said he then believed the check was either fraudulent or a forgery.

When the officer had the woman contact Apple customer service, they advised the cards were redeemed Thursday — not long after the information was provided and were used within an hour.

“The representative indicated the account was probably created with fictitious information and are probably overseas,” the officer noted in the report. “Based on past experience I agree that the offender is likely overseas.”

The officer explained to the woman that her bank account should be considered “compromised” and recommended it be closed and a new one opened.

She then went to Wells Fargo to see if there were any options on its end to help prevent her from suffering the $800 loss.

“If you are NOT purchasing an item from the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or an Apple Music membership, do NOT make a payment with iTunes Gift Cards,” Apple warns. “There's no other instance in which you'll be asked to make a payment with an iTunes Gift Card.”

Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles

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