Police: Scammers pretending to be Apple spoof caller ID, at least 3 victims locally

The scammers don't want your bank information or credit card number; instead, they ask that you buy an Apple iTunes gift card. (KATU Photo)

A sophisticated new scam is making its rounds in Lake Oswego and possibly in neighboring areas. This time, scammers don't want your bank information or credit card number.

They've got it down to a science: they call people and spoof the caller ID into reading "Apple" and even direct you to a legitimate website about computer viruses. They're persistent just enough to be believable.

Kathleen Gordon thought she had heard it all, and she never fell for them. She takes pride in being cautious.

"I've gotten calls from people saying if you don't call this number, the IRS will come after you, you're going to be arrested because you owe money," said Gordon. "I usually don't pick up phone calls if I don't know the number."

However, about a month ago, a number came up that she did recognize and trusts: Apple. She said they called her four times.

"I consider myself an intelligent person, one that doesn't fall for something like this, but they really sounded legit," said Gordon.

The caller told her there might be a virus on her phone, computer and tablet. They did a scan and offered to wipe the virus. Then they wanted a payment. Instead of cash or credit, they just asked that she purchase an Apple iTunes gift card.

"I just thought, 'Oh, that must be legit. They don't want money, they just want us to use iTune cards,'" she said.

She went out to the store and purchased $250 worth of cards. The con artists cashed them, before they came back asking for more. She called her daughter, and that's when she learned she had been scammed.

"I was stupid," she said. "I couldn't believe I fell for it. ... It made me so paranoid about every call."

Lake Oswego Police says at least two other people fell for it too. Scammers got away with up to $2,000 each time.

Fortunately, Gordon did get her money back.

Police say scammers are always one step ahead of the game.

They want to remind the public that government agencies, police and most companies will never call you to make a payment, let alone redeem a gift card.

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