Crime & Public Safety

For Hilton Head woman, $6,000 iTunes scam hits sour note

A Hilton Head Island woman was scammed out of $6,000 in the form of iTunes gift cards by a man claiming to be a Michigan police officer.

The theft was reported Tuesday at a residence on Harleston Green Road around 6:15 p.m., according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report.

The victim told a deputy that she had been called by a man claiming to be Capt. James Miller of the Lavonia Police Department in Michigan. The man told her that her grandson was in custody and that he needed to collect $6,000 in order to get him out of jail, the report said.

The alleged captain told her he could not accept the money from a credit card and instead instructed her to purchase $6,000 worth of iTunes gift cards and read the number on the back of the cards to him over the phone.

Once she provided the man with the numbers, he contacted her again to request an additional $3,000 to pay a lawyer for her grandson.

When the woman attempted to purchase additional iTunes gift cards from a store on Palmetto Bay Road, the manager informed her that she may be the victim of a scam, the report said.

As the responding deputy spoke with the victim, the alleged police officer called her again from a blocked number.

The deputy answered and questioned the man who, in reply, cursed at the deputy before saying, “Are you mad bro that I just scammed this old lady and made more in a matter of days than you make in a month?” the report said.

The man then hung up.

The deputy searched the phone number the suspected scam artist used and it returned as being connected to a scam, the report said.

Caitlin Turner: 843-706-8184, @Cait_E_Turner