COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - One man is out thousands of dollars because of a scam. His printer broke, so he turned to the internet for help -- or so he thought.
Man lost thousands of dollars to scam.
"I learned a lesson. I learned a big lesson," Ronald Crawford said. "Maybe I lost $10,000, maybe. I'm not quite sure yet."
It all started because he was having trouble with his computer back in May.
"I pressed the wrong button one day and I disconnected the wireless feature and disconnected the printer," Crawford told 11 Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton.
So he went online to find some help.
"I found an outfit that said that they would do it and I contacted the outfit, and they promised they could do it for $139," he said.
He doesn't remember the exact link he clicked.
"I allowed them to take control of the computer so that they could do it," Crawford said.
And that was that. Until a few weeks ago.
"I got a phone call saying, 'We're really sorry but the job that we did in May, your system is not compatible with our fix. So we need to refund some money to you," Crawford said.
They told him they would need to transfer the money to his bank account.
"They said, 'Well, we have to transfer the balance, the $400 that we owe you, plus $1,000 into your online checking account,'" he explained.
But they asked for some of that money back.
"How do I make up the difference? I need to go get some Walmart iTunes gift cards to the tune of $1,000," said Crawford.
“I said, ‘Well, I don’t want to do that.' They said, ‘If you don’t do that we’ll take your computer away from you. We’ll hold your computer ransom until you do, do it.'"
So he bought gift cards, a lot of them.
"I would bring the gift cards in and read the numbers off the gift cards ... to them over the phone," he said.
“It started off with $1,000 and the first thing you know it was $2,000 and then it was $3,000," Crawford told us. "And finally it got to the point where I was running my credit cards so fast that my credit cards were being broken.”
"I started breaking my credit cards when I was getting $500 Walmart gift cards, $2,000 at a time," he added.
"They had me running all over Colorado Springs from one Walmart to the next," Crawford said. "I had to lie and lie and lie in order to get these gift cards."
Then one day he put an end to it, called his bank and stopped the funds. Unfortunately, not before the scammers got away with thousands of dollars.
To avoid making a similar mistake, the Better Business Bureau warns that you should never give remote access to a company that you are unfamiliar with. Also, avoid clicking pop-up windows or links that take you to unknown websites.
Crawford is taking his laptop to get fixed so he can get back to what he misses the most.
"Then maybe I can get my computer back and get back to Facebook and my friends and emails," he said.
What he won't get back is his hard-earned money.
Remember, there are lots of scams going around right now with crooks claiming to have control over your computer. Whenever you're asked to pay for things with gift cards, that's a huge red flag. Make one extra phone call to our 11 Call for Action team and you could save yourself from becoming the next victim.
The 11 Call for Action team can be reached at 719-457-8211. Click here for more information.