Peter Cooper Village man targeted by Apple phone scammer

By Sabina Mollot

By now, there is probably not a single New Yorker, or even a single person living in the country with a phone who hasn’t been on the receiving end of some sort of scam pitch. The popular ones being Con Ed, the Department of the Treasury, the IRS and Microsoft.

But some callers seem more plausible than others in their attempts to get money from their marks, in particular those who spout names of familiar companies that are actually used by the victims and find out the names and sometimes other information about the people they’re calling.

For those reasons, Peter Cooper Village Josef Schreick believed it at first when someone claiming to be an Apple employee called his landline, warning him his computer had a virus that was putting all his other Apple devices at risk.

So he called back the number the caller gave him as instructed, and a heavily accented man who introduced himself as Chris Morris answered. Shreick’s phone number is listed publicly, so “Chris” knew Schreick’s address and also knew (or guessed correctly) that he subscribed to Spectrum, making him seem more legit. After informing him his devices were at risk of being infected, the man told Schreick the cost for repairs would be $200, to be paid in Apple iTunes gift cards.

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Hoylman taking on robo-call scammers

State Senator Brad Hoylman (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

Just call him Robo-call Cop.

Like any other New Yorker, State Senator Brad Hoylman has come to view his phone with a sense of dread each time it rings thanks to near-daily scam calls.

Popular ones to hit local communities lately include the Apple iCloud shutoff scam and another claiming money is owed to Con Ed.

In Hoylman’s case, the Greenwich Village resident said it’s recently been a steady mix of callers instructing him to call back about his credit card account, announcements that he’s won a free cruise (complete with a louder than necessary cruise ship horn blast) and messages in Chinese. The Chinese language calls come from numbers that appear to be local with 212, 917 and 646 area codes.

But, said Hoylman, “Those are spoofed calls made overseas.”

To combat the scam scourge, the senator has proposed legislation that would require phone companies to offer consumers tools, free of charge, on landlines as well as cell phones, to block or divert robocalls.

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