Warning: Computer Tech Support Scam Reported
KSAL Staff - Thu 08:58 AM 02/07/2013
The Better Business Bureau warns of a new phone scam in the area.
According to the agency, people have reported receiving calls from a representative claiming to be from Microsoft. The caller offers to solve their computer problems. This is a classic scam: a fake tech support caller claims he needs access to your computer to fix a non-existent bug. But there is a new twist. It involves the caller actually installing a virus on victims' computers. This is a phishing attempt by scammers to gain access to the consumer's computer and steal their personal information.
How the Scam Works:
You get a telephone call from someone claiming to be with tech support from a well-known software company. Microsoft is a popular choice. The callers often have strong accents but use common names such as "Adam" or "Bill." The scammers may know your name and other personal information, which they get from publicly available phone directories. They might even guess what computer operating system you're using.
The caller tells you that your computer is sending error messages, and they've detected a virus on it. He says only a tech support employee can remove the virus, but first you need to grant him access to your machine. If you give the OK, the caller will run a scan of your files and actually point out how the virus has infected the computer. The scammers then offer to remove the virus.... for a fee. Of course, they need your credit card details first.
Here's the twist. Those who allowed the caller remote access to their computers, whether they paid for the virus to be removed or not, reported difficulties with their computer afterwards, according to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. Some said their computers would not turn on or certain programs/files were inaccessible. Some victims even reported taking their computers for repair, and the technicians confirmed software had been installed.
What to do if "Tech Support" Calls?
• Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
• Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from tech support. If the caller claims there is a security threat to your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly.
• Take the caller's information down and report it to your local authorities the BBB or the FTC.
• If you did allow a caller to access your computer:
o Change the passwords for your computer, email and online banking/credit card accounts.
o Be sure to run a virus scan
o Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report if you shared personal and banking information with the scammer.
The BBB offers the following advice, if you think your computer has been affected by a virus:
• Go through your service provider directly. If you are concerned your computer may be exposed to viruses or other security threats, contact your service provider directly. Some providers offer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.
• Install virus detection. To help protect your computer from viruses make sure you have virus detection software installed on your computer. This software can also help identify if a virus appears on your computer.
• Find a computer repair company you can trust. Go to bbb.org to find a BBB Accredited Business you can trust.