It's the classic scam – a faketech support caller claims he needs access to your computer to fix anon-existent bug. But a new twist involves the caller actually installinga virus on their victims' computers.
How the Scam Works:
You get a telephone call fromsomeone claiming to be with tech support from a well-known softwarecompany. Microsoft is a popular choice but Nebraskans are also gettingcalls from "PC Wizard". The callers often have strong accents but usecommon names such as Bill or Adam. The scammers may know your name andother personal information which they get from publicly available phonedirectories. They may even guess successfully what computer operatingsystem you are using.
The caller tells you that yourcomputer is sending error messages and they have detected a virus on it. They say only a tech support employee can remove the virus AND you need togrant them access to your computer. If you give the OK, the caller willrun a scan of your files and actually point out how the virus has infected thecomputer. Then, they offer to remove the virus for a fee and to give themyour credit card number and details.
The new twist is, that those whoallow the caller remote access to their computers, whether they paid for thevirus to be removed or not, report difficulties with their computerafterwards. Some report their computer will not turn on or they can't accesscertain programs or files. If the victim takes their computer in forrepair, real tech support staff confirm malware has been installed which isaccessing information from your computer.
What to do if "Tech Support" calls:
- Never give controlof your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is alegitimate representative of a computer support firm that you are doingbusiness with already.
- Never provide yourcredit card or financial information to anyone over the phone.
- Take the caller'sinformation and report it to your local police force and the BBB.
- If you did allowaccess to your computer
- Change passwords for your computer, your email and youronline banking and credit card accounts.
- Be sure to run a legitimate virus scan.
- Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report ifyou did share personal and credit card information.
- Call the BBB at1-800-649-6814.
For more information about this and other scams, go to bbb.org.