WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It started out over a Facebook chat. Friend to friend, a South Florida couple thought.
“We thought about it, we knew our friend wasn’t going to lie about it, so we figured OK, we’re going to pursue it,” the man told Scripps station WPTV in West Palm Beach in an interview.
The couple asked to remain anonymous.
The scam was pitched as a $100,000 federal grant, to help disabled senior citizens who live on a fixed income. That money would go a long way. All the couple had to do was click the link and follow the instructions and the $100,000 would be theirs.
“I said, 'Now they’re asking for iTunes cards? I never heard of that.' She says, 'Oh, don’t worry about it, I did the very same thing,'” the man said.
The scam included 21 iTunes gift cards valued at $50 to $1,050 in all.
“I kept asking her over and over again, I told her a few times, 'I don’t know, I’m kind of leery about this.' She just kept saying, 'Look there’s no problem with it. I did it,'” the woman said in an interview,
When the scammers asked for even more money, the couple cut off communication. They clicked on their friends profile and learned she announced her account had been hacked.
“If you get anything like this from a friend and you’re not really sure about it, get a hold of your friend and call them and ask them, did you send this to me?” the man said.
The FBI says senior citizens are common targets for fraud, partly because they tend to be more trusting than younger generations. If you’re over 65 the Department of Homeland Security has tips tailored especially for you when you go online.