CLEVELAND - A woman from Solon is waiting for something that should be hers. She needs it to just get by. It's a lesson in life that she wants to share with you so you don't become a victim, too.
"A total of $939.64,” said Janita Johnson after using a calculator to add it all up. That's how much she lost after answering a simple call that told her that her pre-paid Visa card was blocked.
"Once you press one, they're asking you what's the card number to verify you are who you are. Then it asks for a pin number," said Johnson about a recent automated voice on her cell phone. She didn't know it was a scam.
"I'm just upset. I'm angry. I want my money back," Johnson told us.
After inputting her card number, the next day she kept getting texts from the card company alerting her that money was being taken from her account. "(It’s) a disaster. How am I going to pay my bills? How are we going to eat? How am I going to make it back and forth to work?” she questioned.
She puts her paycheck directly onto that card and someone in another state hit an ATM and withdrew it. "This has been a whole lot of stress," Johnston said.
As a single mother whose daughter is in college, there are lots of bills. So, that's why this crime has just added to the stress and added to her already being a victim about three weeks ago. That time someone took her purse, her cell phone, and more. "I felt like I was helpless. It's like you are in a fight but you're not able to fight back," she described.
She did get a new cell phone. It is the same one that got the call that wiped her out again. The company behind the card is working with her and will soon get her money back. She's now paying it forward warning you about the scam. "I just don't want anyone else to have to go through this," said Johnson.
Since the phone call, Johnson told us she's heard from a bunch of people who have gotten the same call about a blocked pre-paid Visa card. The number is 786-300-2335. Our research shows this number has been used to scam people in other parts of the country, too.
On your side advice: Don't trust any call.
Hang up, call the company yourself and ask questions.
If you do get this call, contact the Better Business Bureau, the Ohio Attorney General's Office, and if they take your money file a police report.