Edinburg Man Falls Victim to Online Scheme

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EDINBURG – A Rio Grande Valley man said falling for a phony website cost him hundreds of dollars. 

Edinburg resident Juan Briseno said so far, he’s not having a good week.

"I talked to the people at Apple. I make a claim with them, I make a claim with my bank, I cancel my credit card and so it was a complete scam,” he said.

Briseno said he needed maintenance on his iPad, so he googled the number for Apple support.

"It had a 1-800 number. I mean everything looked fine, I pressed the website and it took me to a link and that's it,” he said.

He said he lost hundreds of dollars when he called a number on the fake link.

"I had talked to them for I don't know, 10 minutes and they had told me that I needed to give them a security deposit of $200,” he recalled.

Briseno said the crooks then asked for the money through iTunes gift cards, making him lose $600 in total.

Now, Briseno wants others to be aware of bogus sites.

We spoke to KRGV-TV Chief Engineer Michael Leal about the phony links. He said fake hyperlinks will get you to a dummy website that looks similar to the website you're trying to look up.

"(It) will often times put them in contact with the scammer who will ask them for their credit card number and charge them the amount that they request,” he explained.

He said googling something, like in Briseno's case, will usually put the correct result at the top of the page. 

"But it's also something a scammer can exploit,” said Leal.

He said the algorithm or formula can be altered so that the top result can be an advertisement that will lead you to a bad site. This is what might have happened to Briseno.

"Google's usually really good about removing those in time, but if you catch them in that grey period where it hasn't been removed, then you can get scammed,” said Leal.

In Briseno's case, the payment method was a red flag.

"That is a red flag. No legitimate company will ever ask for payment that is not via credit card or a known payment method like PayPal."

Leal says if you're doubting a website or phone number, go directly to the source.

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