The scammers “cold call” phone numbers to find victims. When someone answers, the scammers claim to be from a legitimate computer business and claim that they have detected problems with the homeowner’s computer such as viruses and malware. The scammers will use technical language to try to gain trust. They asked the homeowner to perform a series of tasks that in reality allows them access to the computer and the personal data stored in it. They may also install malware that can take personal information on the computer.
The scammers will demand payment to fix the alleged problems. They will accept credit card payments over the phone or will demand payment via Western Union or Money Gram. They also may direct victims to fraudulent websites that collect personal and financial information.
To avoid becoming a victim, the Attorney General’s Office recommends:
· Never give control of your computer to someone who calls you;
· Be vigilant in safeguarding personal information;
· Never give out passwords;
· Protect personal computers with legitimate and updated security software;
· Do not provide SSNs, banking, or credit card or other financial information to anyone who calls, no matter who they say they are; and
· Simply hang-up if someone calls you with this scheme!
If you are victimized:· Have a reputable computer technician remove any software that may have been added by the scammers;
· Change your passwords;
· Contact your financial institution; and
· Monitor bank and credit card account activity.
The Attorney General’s Office encourages anyone who receives a tech support scamming call to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
Note: This is not a new scam. I have even received phone calls, in the past, claiming to be from “Microsoft Tech Support” wanting to help me with problems with my computer. I hung up. You should hang up also.
For more information about this scam, go to:
Washington State Attorney General’s Office: