3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - Like a lot of us, Martha Santa Cruz stores a lot of personal information on her Apple iPhone. It's information she never shares.
"I'm very careful with that," Santa Cruz told 3 On Your Side. "I make sure I don't give my information to anybody."
So, when she received a legitimate-looking message claiming to be from Apple warning her that someone was trying to hack into her phone, she contacted Apple.
"So, I called them and that's when the nightmare began," said Santa Cruz.
A nightmare because Santa Cruz actually called the scammer who sent the message. During the conversation, the conman told her to download and then open a specific app so he can secure her phone.
Reluctantly, she did.
"He goes, 'Ma'am, you have to be fast because these hackers are trying to get more information from your account.' And I was like 'Oh, I'm so nervous,'" said Santa Cruz.
Remember, Santa Cruz thinks she's talking to an Apple representative when she was really talking to a scammer. And that scammer said, "Do you know what you need to do to fix your problem? Punch in a code and the scammer gave her the code number."
But Santa Cruz tells 3 On Your Side the whole ordeal just didn't feel right.
After peppering him with questions, Santa Cruz said he told her, "You see, I'm Apple. You called me. I'm an Apple helper and I'm helping you. This is just a code."
Using the app, that she downloaded, Santa Cruz punched in the code, which was 198098. But that so-called code was actually $1,980.98. Once she hit send, the app transferred all $1,980.98 out of her bank account and straight to the scammer.
"I said wait a minute. My money is gone. He goes, 'Don't worry. You will get it back. This is just the process to protect your money,'" said Santa Cruz.
By now, Santa Cruz says she knew she had been duped and hung up. As a result, she says she now suffers nightmares knowing someone did this to her.
"I keep hearing voices," she said, crying. "Go here, go there. And it's scary. Instructions telling me what to do."
Santa Cruz says she knows she won't get her money back and warns 3 On Your Side viewers not to fall for it.
"I will get over it but this is something I don't want them to go through this," said Santa Cruz.
Apple has a warning on its website telling people not to fall victim to this scam. But the scammers are so convincing, people do.
As for getting this viewer's money back, her bank said no because technically, she voluntarily transferred the money.