LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - A Limestone County couple was conned out of thousands of dollars by thieves running a very elaborate scheme with stolen identities.
Charles Brock and his wife lost a lot of money at the hands of the scammers.
"I guess the embarrassment turned to anger when I found out what they had done and how they had done it," Brock said in an interview at his home on Wednesday.
He got a call from someone claiming to be with Redstone Federal Credit Union's Fraud Department, alerting him to a suspicious transaction on his debit card. The caller provided the correct last four digits on his card.
The representative asked if Brock bought anything on Amazon or if his card had been stolen, and it hadn’t. He Informed Brock that his card had been compromised and that it would be canceled and another one issued and mailed out.
"Then he asked for the last three digits on the security code on the back of the card. I thought something was wrong there and I wasn't going to do that. I hung the phone up. I called back to the number they had called from, which I knew was the Redstone's fraud department since we'd had an issue several months earlier. It went through the Redstone prompts and when the voice came in, it was the same individual. Foolishly, I gave him the last three numbers because the card was cancelled and I was talking to the bank and I didn't see anything wrong with that," Brock explained.
It's clear that whoever was on the other end of the line already had all of Brock's debit card information and only needed the security code to be able to steal his money.
The caller turned out to be a con artist, spoofing the bank's phone number to make it look legitimate. Brock had never heard of spoofing before.
"They can take the telephone number they want you to see and with an app, it'll look like that number. So when you call it back, you're calling that number, but it's going to the bad guys," Brock stated.
He reported what happened to the Limestone County Sheriff's Office and they're investigating. The thieves ended up buying money orders at a Publix in Montgomery, leaving the account empty.
Close to $4,000 was stolen.
“We’d just gotten paid. It’s our pay account. My wife works overtime at the prison. She’s been there more than 20 years. She working overtime and getting ready to retire and they cleared all of that out,” Brock, a retired state correctional officer, added.
At the grocery store in Montgomery, Brock says two men who took his money had made an actual debit card and a drivers license with his name and information on it, but with their picture.
"So they're taking it one step further. They can make whatever they want. You can buy all these things to make credit cards on the dark web," Brock said.
He wants others to know about the tactics being used.
"You hear Redstone say it, all banks say it, that they'll never ask for your information. When he asked for it, I felt like something was wrong. When I called it back, I thought I was talking to the bank," Brock added. "They've gotten a lot better at what they're doing. They've gotten a lot more efficient at how to hide things from us. You always think these things are going to happen to someone else, but no."
The bank reimbursed the Brock's account. Now, he hopes his family's ordeal serves as a warning to others. He doesn't want the scammers to target another family and get away with their life savings.
“It’s ridiculous that someone that someone so talented with a computer isn’t using it for something else. Instead they’re using it to steal,” Brock said. “It’s imperative that you check your accounts every day, every single day."