Rochester man loses $168K in overpayment, security scam

(ABC 6 News) – A 76-year-old Rochester man lost $168,000 after falling for a multi-part overpayment scam.

Capt. Casey Moilanen with the Rochester Police Department said the scam started on Aug. 8, when the man received a fake bill from the antivirus software company McAfee.

The man told police he got a statement, which he now knows is false, claiming he had been charged $400 for auto-renewal. The bill had a phone number at the bottom to call if the recipient had questions.

The man called the number and spoke to a scammer who claimed to be from McAfee. The scammer promised the Rochester man a refund of the $400 they had supposedly charged his account, then told the man to download software that would allow the scammer to access his computer and control it.

Moilaned said it is crucial to avoid downloading any program that allows another person remote access of your computer or other device unless you’re certain of their identity.

The scammer then told the man he had accidentally sent $40,000 directly to the man’s Wells Fargo account, and sent a false charge notification.

The scammer told the man this had been a mistake, and asked him to wire $39,500 to an address.

Later, the Rochester man spoke to another scammer claiming to be the first person’s manager, who said the first wire transfer hadn’t gone through, and "McAfee" was still out $40,000.

The scammers asked the Rochester man to wire another $39,000 to Hong Kong, which he did.

Finally, the Rochester man was told there was another $40,000 "hiding" in his account, which would be revealed somehow if he sent more money.

The scammers told the man that if he wired them $90,000, they would reimburse him $200,000 to account for that transfer, the two $39K transfers, with an additional $30,000 or so on top for all of his trouble.

The scammers also told the man they would send him a free iPad.

He sent the $90,000.

Moilanen said he does not know when the man realized the calls and transfers were a scam, but he suspected that it happened when he checked his bank account and realized that the transfers from the scammers had not arrived in his account.

He also did not receive an iPad.

"Some of the feedback I’ve received from the elderly is that they just aren’t aware of these scams, even though I know we talk about it all the time," Moilanen said. "Hopefully people will get the message."