Norton security email scam costs Volusia County woman $10,000

Imposter claimed that refund typo would get him fired

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – An email that appeared to be from Norton 360 billing department cost a DeBary woman $10,000 in bitcoin currency in an elaborate company imposter scheme that is sweeping the country.

Susan Harrison, 76, told News 6 she was rattled by “a fast-talking man with an accent” who seemed to be willing to help her cancel her antivirus software that “auto renewed for the next year.”

“He just started yelling that’s $10,000, why did you take $10,000, now I’m going to lose my job,” Harrison told News 6.

Harrison called News 6 to expose the unnerving experience that saw a Norton staff imposter access her computer, take a cash advance from her Wells Fargo credit card and convince her to transfer just under $10,000 to a bitcoin account in Atlanta, Georgia.

“He said go look at your checking account see if $10,000 is in there. Well, I went on the computer and the $10,000 was there,” she said.

Harrison told News 6 she was on the phone with the conman for over 2 ½ hours “driving around like I was with the Secret Service on a mission.”

She withdrew the funds from her checking account without telling the bank employees because the conman claimed the IRS would investigate her account.

She then drove to a Bitcoin ATM to transfer the funds to an account in Atlanta.

She reported the event to Wells Fargo fraud division and at first, the money was refunded to the credit card - including the $500 cash advance fee.

But bank officials took the funds back when they could not find an IPS address to track the imposter.

Special Agent in Charge Caroline O’Brien Buster of the U.S. Secret Service told News 6 these business imposter scams from Amazon to Apple to Norton all play on a “sense of urgency.”

“This needs to be done today, this needs to be done in the next two hours, that’s how they fall for it,” O’Brien-Buster said.

The veteran U.S. Secret Service agent said she would have deleted the email given the obvious red flags, including the IPS address and the name of the sender Lawson Gutkowski.

Norton has provided a list of legitimate email addresses at:

  • If you have a suspicious email with Norton branding in your inbox, do not respond, download attachments, or click on any links in the email. First, go to this verification link to find out if the email is legitimate.
  • If you have an investment or consumer issue email or text the words make ends meet along with you issue and email to 407-676-7428

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About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.