CHICAGO (CBS) — Now to a consumer warning from a CBS 2 viewer who contacted us about a suspicious email that almost cost her big time. Morning Insider Tim McNicholas shows us the red flags so you can stay scam-free.

“It scared me that I fell for it initially,” Brenda Clark said.

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Clark knows a thing or two about money after spending 20 years in the banking industry. That includes the tricks that fraudsters use to scam you out of your hard-earned money.

Then she got a frightening email.

“They got me with the fear of having money debited from my account,” she said.

The suspicious email warned she’d be charged $200 for a Norton Security software subscription.

“It was an emotional grab,” she said.

With $200 at stake, she panicked; even though these scammers aren’t good spellers, misspelling valuable. The message also came from a Gmail address, even though it supposedly came from Norton.

Clark called the number on the email, and the supposed customer service representative directed her to the website

“It wanted me to download something. Well, now I’m getting suspicious,” she said.

Fortunately, Clark realized downloading the software would give this alleged rep control of her computer.

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“Luckily, my alarm bells went off,” she said.

So she confronted the Norton impostor.

“I said, ‘What is this, a scam?’ And then he started getting belligerent with me,” Clark said.

She hung up on him, but that was not the end of it.

“Then it started getting stranger and stranger,” she said. “He called back again. Called me names. I hung up on him. He called me back again. Called me names … then he hung up and didn’t call back.”

McNicholas wanted to speak with the scammer, so he called the same number Clark used, but the person he spoke to hung up on him in the middle of the call three times.

“Why did you have this woman download this program that would take control of her computer?” McNicholas asked during the third call.

Three strikes at trying to get straight answers.

Back to Clark, the good news is her money is safe.

“I just was so grateful that I caught myself in the middle of it,” she said.

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Now she’s warning others so no one loses a dime to these con artists.

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