A woman in South Florida claims she lost her life savings when she was targeted in a coronavirus scam.
Erica Reyes says crooks who claimed to be from the Social Security Administration tricked her out of her full life savings, according to Local 10, an ABC affiliate in Miami.
“Just a little over $10,000,” she clarified to the outlet.
Reyes, 32, formerly worked setting up concert venues, but has been unemployed since pandemic shutdowns left her out of the job.
Since March, she had attempted getting in touch with officials to find out the status of her relief. She didn’t hear anything until she received a call she received last week from an individual who said he was with SSA.
Hopeful after her long wait, she was eager and receptive.
“Right away my guard went down,” Reyes said. “I’m like, fantastic. Finally, I’m getting help.”
The man on the phone told Reyes she was the focus of an investigation into a money laundering scam in Texas that used her Social Security number. In order to protect her assets, she was told, she had to secure them before her accounts would be frozen.
“They said because of the money laundering case, you have to safeguard your money because it’s going to be frozen, accounts will be frozen,” she said.
“If you send it to us, we will send a Social Security officer to your house with the sheriff’s department to give you back a temporary Social Security number and your assets,” Reyes said the person told her.
She withdrew $7,500 in cash from her bank account and purchased several thousand dollars worth of gift cards, according to receipts that she showed Local 10.
She sent the cash via FedEx to an address given to her on the phone, where she was told, “a Social Security officer will be there to pick it up. It’s one of our locked boxes.” The address turned out to be a FedEx drop box in Indianapolis.
In addition to the cash sent by FedEx, Reyes also sent photos displaying the gift card numbers to a number that was provided to her.
While she has tried to get in touch since, the numbers that contacted Reyes are no longer in service. She has filed a report with the Broward Sherff’s office.
"They were so convincing," she said of the scammers. "They were so, so believable. This doesn't happen to me.”
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