By Joanne Arbogast
The Daily Item
David S. of Washington Township, Dauhin County, received a phone call Sept. 26 from someone claiming to work for Microsoft. According to state police at Lykens, the telemarketer was able to get enough information from David to access his computer and take control of it from a remote location, compromising all personal information David had stored in his computer.
Troopers report did not specify how the fake Microsoft representative was able to convince David to reveal personal information and file passwords. However, there’s a good chance the caller was claiming David’s computer was infected with viruses and the caller claimed he needed the information in order to fix the computer from afar.
The Federal Trade Commission is well aware of the prevalent scams that not only result in identity thefts, but steal money from worried computer owners who wind up paying for bogus computer “repairs.”
On Oct. 3, federal regulators charged 14 firms and 17 people with impersonating major companies to trick consumers into thinking their computers were plagued by viruses so they could charge hundreds of dollars to fix the problems, according to The Associated Press.
The FTC found the tech-support scams stretch across the world, originating in India and targeting English-speaking people in the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.
The fake telemarketers, claiming to be with a company such as Microsoft or Dell, tell you they’ve detected a virus or malware in your computer and offer to set up security measures or fix the problems remotely for $49 to $450.
“The FTC alleged in lawsuits filed in New York that the companies and individuals violated a federal law prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices, and the agency’s telemarketing sales rule,” reports the AP. “They also illegally called phone numbers listed on the Do Not Call Registry, the FTC said, adding that the companies used 80 different computer domain names and 130 phone numbers to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities.
Named in the lawsuits are: Pecon Software Ltd., Pecon Infotech Ltd., Pecon Software UK Ltd., PCCare247 Inc., PCCare247 Solutions Pvt Ltd., Connexxions Infotech Inc., Connexxions IT Services Pvt Ltd., Zeal IT Solutions Pvt Ltd., Lakshmi Infosoul Services Pvt Ltd., Finmaestros LLC, New World Services Inc., MegaBites Solutions LLC, Greybytes Cybertech P. Ltd. and Shine Solutions Private Ltd.
People are reminded to not give out any personal information to unsolicited people calling and claiming to work for a certain company.
“Businesses generally do not contact people offering their services,” warn state troopers in Lykens.
If someone is trying to gain remote access into your computer, they aren’t going to fix any problems. Rather, they will get access to your bank records, credit card numbers and anything else they can use to rip you off.
And if you send them money to “fix the problem,” the damage will only be compounded.