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An 81-year-old retired law professional and MBA graduate, Copeland Birchie, was scammed out of $68,500 in a gift card scam.

The con man posed as Apple tech support and claimed that Birchie’s computer had been hacked, tricking him into buying 140 gift cards over a nine-day period.

Despite the credit card company calling about the irregular charges, the con man instructed Birchie to lie, and his refund requests were denied.

Birchie hopes to share his story as a lesson to others, warning them to never trust anyone claiming to be from computer tech support, government agencies, or power companies who demand immediate payment and to never stay on the phone with anyone asking to buy gift cards and scratch off the codes.

The Federal Trade Commission warns that more than $230 million is lost annually to gift card scams, which are on the rise.

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