Kansas teen loses everything in ransomware attack

Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNT) — A Kansas teenager said she learned a tough lesson after hackers allegedly gained control of her computer and took her money. Deasia Taborn said she lost everything she had in her bank account.

It came at a time when she was recovering physically and financially from another traumatic event, a car crash that happened last year.

(Photo courtesy Deasia Taborn)

“Really big pickup truck behind me, they weren’t paying attention, I don’t know what happened,” said Taborn.

The crash destroyed her car and left her unable to work for months. She had to undergo months of physical therapy.

The impact also knocked some of her teeth out, just weeks after she got her braces off.

2020 may not have been her year, but she would recover physically and financially. Then she got hit again in 2021.

“I was editing my YouTube videos and a fake virus popped up, I didn’t know it was fake,” said Taborn.

She said the person on the other end locked her computer.

Deasia Taborn (KSN photo)

“He told me that he’d seen a pending $4,000 payment for child pornography videos, and if it went through, I could possibly go to jail for it because it’s illegal in the United States,” said Taborn. “I was scared. I was like, ‘Well, how am I supposed to do something about it? I didn’t do that.'”

Whoever it was, the bad actor convinced her to take all of her money from her bank account and place it onto various gift cards, and then her problems would go away.

“I just did what I thought was right at the moment,” said Taborn, adding she lost about $8,000.

“When you use gift cards as a form of payment, it’s like cash,” said Denise Groene, Kansas Better Business Bureau.

In other words, if you load money onto those gifts cards, it’s gone and there’s no recourse for you. The BBB says it’s a red flag anytime someone you don’t know is asking you to transfer money onto a gift card as payment. Groene says Taborn’s case sounds like a ransomware attack where scammers gain control of your computer and hold it hostage until you pay them.

Here’s a tip: Before you give someone any of your information, the BBB recommends reaching out to a trusted, local information technology company to help you unlock your computer.

Taborn did report this crime to Wichita Police, the Federal Trade Commission, and the BBB.

“I feel stupid, kind of, but there’s nothing I can do to change it,” said Taborn.

The college student learned a tough lesson and is once again recovering. But her story is a warning to you to not fall for this scam.

Click on the BBB Scam Tracker to see scams happening in your area.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories