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Scam alert: Text message leads to Brevard man losing $15,000

<i>WLOS</i><br/>A text message claiming to be from Bank of America turned out to be a scam and cost Marcos Meilan $15
A text message claiming to be from Bank of America turned out to be a scam and cost Marcos Meilan $15

By Hannah Mackenzie

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    REVARD, North Carolina (WLOS) — A two-letter response to a text message led to a Brevard man losing $15,000.

Marcos Meilan said it all started on June 1, when he received a text message claiming to come from Bank of America. The message warned Melian about a potentially fraudulent Zelle payment to a ‘Crystal Thompson’ in the amount of $7,500 – with two options: reply yes to approve the money transfer or no to dispute it.

“Looks very legit,” Meilan said showing the text.

‘A bit of an anomaly:’ Million-dollar downtown Asheville condos without power since April After denying the transfer, he said he got a call.

“It was a Bank of America number,” Meilan said. “There was a nice gentleman on the phone.”

During their 45-minute-long conversation, Meilan said he was under the impression he was canceling the transfer. Instead, he was conned into sending two $7,500 payments.

“He patiently lured me in,” Meilan said. “They got me. The guy was good, and it really stinks.”

Now, Bank of America won’t help him, he said.

“They’re saying it’s my responsibility, I gave authorization and there’s nothing they can do,” Meilan said. “They have the number where the money went, so why can’t they trace the money? That’s the part I don’t understand. There has to be a way.”

It’s called an impersonation scam, said Julie Goodwin, regional director of the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

“They’re going to call you, but they’re going to spoof that number, and they can spoof it to say whatever they want it to say,” Goodwin said. “They come at you through one of two ways, normally: fear or love.”

As technology evolves, so, too, do scams, Goodwin said. And everyone’s at risk.

“If you are an actual victim, the first thing you need to do, of course, is file a police report,” Goodwin said. “Secondly, you can report through the FTC.”

Report fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by clicking here.

For scams potentially involving identity theft, such as this instance, Goodwin said you should also report it here.

You can also contact the Attorney General’s office here.

And to learn about popular scams circulating in your state, head to the BBB’s scam tracker.

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