White House Adviser Gets Scammed Out of More Than $655,000
Frances Sharples valiantly served the government for more than four decades, only to be scammed out of a large sum of money by unforgiving criminals before being attacked by her former employers.
The former Science Advisor had built up quite the retirement fund from her years working with the government. Yet, she would soon become another victim of the global scamming network.
Worst Decision of her Life
Sharples walked through the doors of her local credit union office to make a significant withdrawal from her savings. This happened one morning after she received a call from an unknown man, claiming her identity had been stolen.
The man promised he could save her extensive retirement fund, yet she would have to do exactly what he said. So, she entered the office with a script produced by the man and was told to transfer more than $600,000.
Plan Gets Put Into Action
The scammer kept Sharples on the phone throughout the entirety of the visit to the credit union so he could listen to her.
He instructed her if anyone asked whether or not she was put up to it, she was to reply, “No, absolutely not,” and no one did. She handed the clerk the routing number, and the retired scientist returned to her car and drove home.
Prosperous Career Working For the U.S. Government
Sharples, the daughter of a humble plumber, held a science doctorate. She made a living advising the federal government on new energy technologies, stem cell research, and the effects of biological weapons.
Yet, despite a long history of meticulousness, Sharples would become another victim targetted by a global network of online criminals. Soon, she would willingly help a man with an unusual accent make off with her life savings.
Government Turns Their Back on Sharples
The government has added further insult to injury by claiming that the 73-year-old Sharples had to pay hefty taxes on the stolen money.
According to the federal government, the stolen money is considered a form of income. Tax specialists later informed the retired scientist that someone in her position could face a hefty six-figure bill.
Sharples Gets Hit Twice
The story surrounding Sharples, in which criminal scammers first hit her before being pursued by her own government, is a reminder of the nation’s vulnerability to cybercrime.
It also sheds light on the inconsistencies of how fraud victims are treated in the United States by tax agents.
Victim Left With Nothing
Law enforcement officers and tax experts such as Ismael Guerra, a retired IRS criminal investigator, allude to the fact that Sharples was the only one to lose in this scenario.
“The scammers get away, the government gets its piece, and she gets nothing,” said Guerra.
Rising Problems With Global Scammers
Current law enforcement officials say Sharples, like thousands of other unsuspecting victims, are snagged by global scammers each year.
The scammers implement tactics of telemarketing films and weaponize technological annoyances of modern life and human vulnerabilities in their scams. All of which convince people they are in immediate danger.
Don’t Blame Yourself
Experts have reached out to Sharples during interviews on the topic and assured her there’s no need to blame herself, as thousands have fallen for the same scam.
But she is a retired scientist, and the scammers put compelling evidence before her. Ultimately, it proved impossible to ignore.
The Tech Support Scam
Sharple’s troubles all began last February. A giant red sign filled her screen as she was browsing the internet. It was followed up with a warning and instructions.
According to the message, her identity had just been stolen. She must protect herself by calling Microsoft at the 800 number provided on the screen.
Elaborate and Compelling Evidence
A man with a European-sounding accent picked up the call and identified himself as Petar Williams of Microsoft. From there, he explained she had been compromised, and three attempts had been made to withdraw funds from her account.
The scammer convinced Sharples they needed to act now if she wanted to ensure her savings stayed put. So, off she went to the credit union with a note in hand.
It was a classic tactic that’s been well-documented by the FBI. According to their records, the amount of money lost to such scams reached over $800 million last year.
Experts claim that scammers funnel victims to malicious websites by promoting tainted ads and search results. Once on the website, all they need to do is send through a dramatic warning signal that many people struggle to ignore.