A Texas woman was the victim of an elaborate Social Security scam over the phone, losing $50,000 in a day.
Kathy Wilbanks couldn't believe the state her daughter, Leslie Wilbanks, was in when she called her for help.
“She was as frantic as could be," Kathy told Inside Edition. "I've never seen her that upset.”
Leslie has taught eighth grade math outside Dallas for 22 years. She was recently conned by a complete stranger who called her out of nowhere and told her he was an inspector general with the Social Security Administration.
“He told me, ‘Your phone lines are tapped,’” Leslie told Inside Edition of the incident, which she said happened last month. “'We are watching you.’ He said, ‘Do not call the police.’”
Leslie said the scam artist told her that she was the victim of identity theft and that she was under federal investigation as a money launderer and suspected terrorist.
The first thing she did was check out the number the so-called "inspector" gave her, Leslie said.
“When I called him back, the lady answered the phone, ‘Social Security Administration,’” she recalled.
Convinced the call was legit, Leslie followed instructions given to her and admitted to believing “everything.”
She withdrew wads of cash and drove from store to store to buy gift cards.
“He immediately wanted me to scratch off the card and read him the number,” she said.
Incredibly, he kept her on the phone for a harrowing 10 hours. At one point, she said she had to use the bathroom and even took the phone there, saying she was “kind of humiliating” to do so.
The scammer even told Leslie to get money from her mom, but it was Kathy who figured out something was awry.
“I know the federal government doesn’t call on phone and I also know they don't want gift cards for payment,” Kathy said.
The scam ended right there. But not before Leslie was scammed out of $50,000.
“I felt brainwashed or hypnotized or under some sort of spell,” she said.
Of the $50,000 she was scammed out of, $20,000 of it was on her credit cards and she said she hopes she doesn’t get charged for those.
The Allen Police Department is investigating the case.