Sunday, May 19, 2013
Latest Computer Scam Targets Victims Over The Phone
Scammers claim there is a problem with the victim's computer and then direct them to a URL where the scammer steals their personal info; others try to coax victims out of sensitive banking info.
Anchorage police have received several reports this week from people who have been contacted by computer scammers.
In almost every case the scammers claimed there was a problem with the person’s computer that needed fixing, when in fact no problem existed.
Police say that, many times, scammers pose as company representatives from Microsoft or Apple. They tell the person they’ve discovered some sort of problem with their computer but what they really want is information.
They may direct people to a website or ask them to download a program that can provide a fix. FBI agent Eric Gonzales says that’s just the beginning.
“They'll take you through the steps you need to take under the guise that they are actually helping you repair your computer,” says Gonzales. “Once they are in your computer they can pull information out or they can infect it with more malware and it can be very problematic for that person who is the victim.”
Anchorage police say in some cases the callers have asked for banking information they need in order to perform the fix. Beverly McGuire says she never got that far before she hung up on her caller. In her case, it was a man who claimed to work for a company based in India that was monitoring her computer.
“We just got a flag that your files had been corrupted,” McGuire says the man told her.
“And that means that someone is going to go into them and they are going to gather all the information that they want from your private files and also they could damage your computer.”
McGuire says the caller continued to pressure her to provide information but she resisted, asking him questions instead before eventually hanging up.
Police say she did the right thing by not sharing information and hanging up. They say they have no reports of anyone sharing information with the scammers but want to warn people that they are out there.