Scam that cheated Northeast Ohio employee out of $600 started with text posing as boss
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - An worker for one of Northeast Ohio’s largest employers was recently scammed out of hundreds of dollars.
She told police it all started with a text she thought was from her boss.
It’s a con our Cuyahoga County Scam Squad partners like Sue McConnell at the Better Business Bureau know a lot about, but you might not.
“We’ve heard about this scam quite a lot,” she said. “It’s very easy to be tripped up by this, it catches you off guard.”
A Nestle employee was caught off guard earlier this summer, according to Solon Police.
The woman told detectives she got a text she thought was from her boss. He’d asked her to buy $600 dollars in Apple gift cards and send him the pictures and security codes. She did it.
“We do what our bosses say to do,” McConnell said. “And, you find out later that it was just a scam. There could be hacking into something. Sometimes people’s websites have the staff’s email addresses. Maybe it’s off by a letter, but you don’t notice, the scammers know how to get to us.”
Scammers are often willing to go through company websites, McConnell said, to figure out who’s in charge of who.
“In this example, it paid off,” McConnell said. “They got hundreds of dollars of gift cards, and sometimes the loss is greater than that. Sometimes the loss is confidential information-- information they thought the were giving to their boss.”
Nestle is a well-known, big business, but McConnell said this could happen to an employee at any company no matter the size.
“Staff need to be aware that these scams exist, and companies need to remind staff that they need to verify requests like that,” she said.
According to police, the woman went to HR after her supposed “boss” asked for more gift cards.
“It might be a situation now where so many people are working from home, it might not be unusual for your boss to communicate with you via text or email, and you can’t just walk down the hall and ask if this came from them,” McConnell said.
The Nestle worker did the right thing, though, when she realized what happened.
McConnell said telling police might help track down a suspect, and could protect your coworkers if the company can let them know scammers may come after them too.
“Don’t be embarrassed to report it, because it can happen to anybody. These scammers are professionals at what they do.”
You can report a scam to the Scam Squad at 216-443-SCAM(7226) or on the Scam Squad website.
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