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Impostor Scams On The Rise With More People At Home On Computers

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Experts say with so many people staying at home and online, impostor scams are on the rise.

That is where a scammer poses as someone working for a company and tricks you into giving up money. As CBS 2's Tim McNicholas reported Wednesday morning, a North Side woman said she lost $4,000 to what she thought was Apple Support.

Susan Pullman describes herself as old-school. So imagine her surprise when she got what looked like an email receipt from Apple saying she had bought 1 million coins for a computer game called Pub G Mobile.

"I'm like, I don't do gaming," Pullman said.

So she tried to call Apple customer service, but she now realizes she somehow wound up with a scammer's phone number too.

She said the people on the other end convinced her to send over $4,000 in several electronic payments, and since she technically approved it, the bank will not refund her.

"He tried Zelle, CashApp – I don't know what any of these things are," Pullman said. "He kept on promising me, the money will go back, the money will go back."

"The Better Business Bureau is seeing an increase in those types of complaints - what we call imposter scams," said Steve Bernas, president of the Better Business Bureau in Chicago. "I think it's on the rise because everybody is at home, online, either working from home or personally. The retail stores aren't full force. People aren't going on vacation now. So everybody is around their computers now. More people are shopping online."

Bernas said people trying to rush you into paying for something or asking you to wire them money should raise suspicions. You should verify that you have the right website and phone number for the company you want to reach, as scammers can sometimes come up with clever tricks.

Back in January, for example, the Morning Insiders learned scammers were able to buy Google ads so their fake Apple support page appeared above the actual search results. Because of that, suburban mom Abbey Coffey lost $5,000.

"I just don't want anybody in this world to lose $20 or $10,000," Pullman said.

We reached out to Byline Bank and Zelle to see if there is any chance they could refund Pullman's account. So far, no luck.

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