'That is a big hit.' Riverhead couple says online scam cost them $15,000 in savings

The cyber intrusion likely began two years ago when the Brusts got a pop-up on their computer, selling them an alleged security system.

Krista McNally

Apr 25, 2023, 9:20 PM

Updated 364 days ago

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A Riverhead couple says they were scammed out of $15,000.
Edward and Brenda Brust say they go a call from what they thought was their computer security company.
Edward Brust says that the scammer said, "Your computer has been compromised, Brenda's Social Security Number was hacked, and in order to catch the person in Singapore, you have to give us $15,000.
Brenda Brust went straight to the bank and took out the majority of her money. She then sent it to Singapore via an international wire transfer.
The alleged scammers then called back and said Ed Brust's Social Security Number was compromised, too.
A local bank advised the couple it was most likely a scam and Ed Brust did not take out the money.
"That is a big hit, $15,000 for us is a big hit, it hurts," Edward Brust says.
The cyber intrusion likely began two years ago when the Brusts got a pop-up on their computer, selling them an alleged security system for around $700 over a six-year period.
Cybersecurity expert Adam Schwam says no legitimate company would ever have a pop-up ad, asking to call them and to provide a code.
"The thing pops up and says you need protection on your computer - that is an easy gateway for the elderly," Schwam says.
Schwam says individuals should reach out to a reputable company for cybersecurity.
At least four computer and phone scams were reported to Nassau County police this month with one woman scammed out of more than $500,000.
The Brusts tell News 12 they live off of social security and their retirement. They say the scam was a major hit and they are hoping their story will stop someone else from falling victim to scams.


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