Watching Your Wallet: Scammers try to take advantage of Zoom

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LANSING, MI (WILX) - Zoom is the new Facebook these days. Everyone seems to be hitting up the video chat service, and the crooks and con-artists are trying to take advantage.

Parker Michels-Boyce is all about keeping people connected. He's a professional photographer in Virginia, usually capturing the moments we want to remember, but after COVID-19 hit, like the rest of us, he's found new ways to keep working and keep in touch; Zoom.

"Staying in touch with some other photographers, and also talking to my family back home in Minnesota and some other states," he said.

Michels-Boyce was using the video chat platform so much, he decided it was time to upgrade his account so he could have longer meetings.

"And my payment wasn't going through, tried it a few times, went to the Q&A page, and ended up trying to get in touch with their customer support from a phone number that I saw."

The problem was with the number he dialed. It was two digits off from the real zoom customer support number. Instead of calling 1-888, he dialed 1-866.

"I was talking to someone who I realized later did not identify himself as a Zoom employee, but pretty quickly apologized for the inconvenience, and said to make up for it they were offering people a $100 gift cards."

They were offering gift cards because their systems were down, but there was a catch.

"There's going to be a $4 shipping fee, can I have your credit card number?"

And that's when the warning signs started.

News 10's Consumer Investigative Reporter Rachel DePompa called the number too. She also got a gift card offer, but the person hung up when she asked if she had reached Zoom. The fake number is also posted on the internet.

Kids are using Zoom for school and so are hospitals, the Department of Health and Human Services even relaxed Hippa Laws just so doctors can video chat with patients. The fake Zoom number is also mistakenly listed on a hospital's website in Washington State. The hospital never called back, but 6 hours alter it had corrected its website.

Parker Michels-Boyce figured out the scam before giving away his credit card numbers.

"if you're ever asked for a credit card number and an address and your name, something where you're giving multiple points of personal information, be really aware of that. Be really wary."

It's important to steer clear of unsolicited links, or malware could end up on your device. Also, be careful when dialing a number, and make sure you are using the real website for the company you've been searching for online.

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