Woman loses $17,000 in gift card scam run by Microsoft security impostor

CHICAGO (CBS) – Two stores, 34 gift cards, $17,000 – a suburban shopper told a store security that this purchase was for a wedding gift.

Now, she’s paying for that nugget. As CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reported, the woman was actually the victim of a terrifying scam that left her betrayed and broken.

Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg is the post-Christmas shopping spot that Cynthia DeSimone still regrets months later – and it wasn’t her idea at all.

“Damn it. You know. You feel stupid – because I consider myself pretty smart, you know?” DeSimone said, with tears in her eyes as she recounted the uncomfortable situation that began in January.

An audio message appeared on her computer while she was banking online. She shot a shaky recording of it to show her more tech-savvy relatives.

“Please do not attempt to shut down or restart your computer,” the recording says.

DeSimone said: “The video instructs me to, ‘Call support immediately because you are being compromised.

“It looks real. The logos are there. They respond and are very calm,” she explained.

According to DeSimone, the Microsoft impersonator told her that hackers already had her financial information, but that she should go to the nearest mall and buy a gift card to get the most out of the credit cards the attackers could use. scams there so they can’t buy anything.

They urged her to hurry.

“They are very good at making sure you can’t think,” says DeSimone.

DeSimone listened and spent $9,000 at Macy’s and another $8,000 at JCPenney – where security even questioned her unusually large purchase.

“I told them [JCPenney security] exactly what these Microsoft men told me – that [the gift cards] is the wedding; DeSimone said.

She left the mall with 34 $17,000 gift cards, then read all the card numbers and corresponding pin codes to fake customer support promising DeSimone that the stores would refund the money. Teacher.

Of course, that didn’t happen.

“I was robbed, so I don’t want anyone else to feel like this,” she said, tears in her eyes again.

Quick Search “Microsoft Windows Defender Scam” suggests that a similar alarming message has emerged for many over the past year – but not everyone has been as troubled as DeSimone.

“I don’t have any peace,” she said of her reasons for doing the CBS 2 interview. As a woman of faith, she felt God might be using her struggles to teach. others.

Macy’s and Capital One ended up refunding her $9,000.

Recently, DeSimone, who has a fixed income, paid her US Bank bill for an $8,000 fee at JCPenney to avoid being sent to the collection. For months, that store and that bank refused to return her money. DeSimone told us that Bank of America told her they couldn’t give her the money if the supplier didn’t agree.

She said JCPenney closed her case and found her responsible.

“They say you came in and got the product you wanted,” DeSimone says.

We called the customer support number that appeared on DeSimone’s screen. It has been disconnected.

Meanwhile, Bank of America said it was looking into the case.

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