Florida woman tricked into buying $42,000 in gift cards, deputies say

Man posing as computer worker accesses woman's bank account

PALM COAST, Fla. – A 72-year-old Palm Coast woman was schemed out of $42,000 by a man she believed worked for a company that helped her fix her computer.

The woman told the Flagler County Sheriff's Office that a man named "Jeff" and the company he worked with wanted to reimburse her $300 annual fee because of a technical issue. She said he remotely accessed her computer and she saw him accessing her bank account, according to deputies.

"Basically, they said they wanted to refund her money of $300 but they needed access to her computer, which she allowed," said Sgt. Michael Lutz.

She said she turned off her computer when she noticed her bank account was being used, according to officials.

Sheriff's officials said Jeff then called the woman and said some of the money had been transferred to her account. Jeff told the woman to satisfy the difference in her account, she needed to purchase some Target gift cards and provide the codes to him over the phone, according to deputies.

Officials said the woman purchased 42 Target gift cards with $1,000 on each card. Jeff told her, however, that some of the codes did not work, so the woman bought some more gift cards, sheriff's officials said.

"Every time she read them the number, which gives them access to it, they said it didn't work," Lutz said. "She kept going back and giving them more cards. I think at this point right now, it's at $42,000."

Sheriff's officials said the woman has been in contact with her bank about the scheme.

No arrests have been made, but the culprit will face charges of scheme to defraud under false pretenses.

No other details have been released.


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