The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

August 31, 2013

City woman pulls plug on chiseler posing as techie

SUNBURY — Sometimes you don’t know something’s wrong until someone tells you.

That “sometime” was last week for Denise, 59, of Sunbury. The “something wrong” was apparently her home computer — it had been infected with a virus. The someone who told her was a “computer technician” who first called her around 9 p.m. several nights ago.

“He asked if I was on my computer and I said I wasn’t,” Denise said. “He then insisted I turn on my computer” and that he would then remotely correct the problem.

She admitted she did stay on the line for a while, asking questions, but then she hung up.

On Friday, she received another call warning her about the need to fix a virus on her computer.

“He did say he was with a computer company but I didn’t catch the name,” Denise said.

“He said he was calling from Oakland, Calif.”

Denise asked for his phone number and he provided her with one, though she wasn’t sure she took the number down correctly.

“Both callers had an Indian accent,” she said. “I know because I’ve been to India and am very familiar with the accent.

“Is this a scam?” she asked.

It’s a scam.

Earlier this year, ABC News reported how the scheme works:

People posing as technicians with prominent companies such as Microsoft call and say they have detected a virus on your computer. In order to fix your problem, they need access to your computer and ask for your password/access information.

Give up that information and the Federal Trade Commission says you may be at risk of giving not only personal information but money away to the thieves:

Once they gain access into your computer, all of the files — from contact lists to bank accounts to credit-card numbers — become vulnerable.  

They may try to enroll you — for a price — in a worthless computer security system.

They may enter your computer and install malware that has the capability of gathering private information including passwords.

If you actually think you might have a computer problem, it is recommended you use a legitimate security software to run a scan for virus activity on your computer.

At the very least, do not give strangers your computer passwords and it’s probably a good idea to change your passwords frequently, especially for accounts where you use the same password.

 

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