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AT&T customer says scammers stole over $7K after hacking her phone

Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 11:05 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It’s a scam investigators say likely has more victims. A scam that victimized AT&T customers stealing half a million dollars from them. One of the victims contacted WMC and wanted to talk.

”It’s very shocking. It’s alarming that someone with this knowledge to play this scheme and to take someone’s hard-worked money,” she said.

The victim, who works as a nurse, did not want to reveal her identity because she is afraid the people who scammed her out of more than $7,000 might come after her.

She is one of more than 70 people investigators say fell victim to a con that stole more than half a million dollars.

Taryn Watson and Brandon Danley are charged in the case, held on $2 million bonds each.

Here’s how investigators say the scheme worked: A man and a woman called into AT&T call centers impersonating AT&T employees using authentic employee identification numbers. It is not clear how they got them.

Once they got personal information on legitimate customers, investigators say they transferred their victims’ phone numbers to different providers giving them access to passwords and the ability to move money around.

This victim told WMC she got a call from AT&T the day before Christmas Eve that her phone had been hacked.

“Within minutes of that, I started getting all these notifications from PayPal that I was sending so and so x amount of money,” she said.

The money was sent to someone she does not know. We have blurred the man’s name, but you can see 4 transactions for more than $2,000 all on Dec. 23.

A police report indicates the calls made to AT&T lead back to Danley and an address in North Memphis.

Danley and Watson were also charged in 2019 with theft involving a package with $27,000 worth of merchandise in it.

The victim we spoke with has now changed her habits deleting accounts that deal with money electronically. She now is looking for justice.

“I don’t think they should be eased upon their penalty whatsoever, I think what they did was wrong and I think they deserve time in jail,” she said.

The Shelby County DA’s office says it does have the case but the investigation is in the early stages adding federal investigators are also interested. So clearly there is more to come out of it.

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