Phone scam targeting people and computers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -- NBC12 has learned of a phone scam making its way around town. In the scam, the scammers are asking you to power up your PC and basically cause it to malfunction, then soliciting you to give up some personal information.

It's actually a scam that has affected our sister TV stations across the country.

It's an old-fashioned type of scam that continues to work today. Scammers call your home, saying they are from a legit company — but all these scammers really want is your personal information.

The scammers are using some big-name companies to lure you in: Microsoft Support, Facebook Support, Dell Support and more.

"This is what people do for a living, and they are very good at it," said Tom Gallagher with the Better Business Bureau. He has seen this type of problem for decades.

"Don't give them anything. If someone says you won a prize, or you've been selected for something, or you got a phantom problem you don't know about, don't believe them," said Gallagher.

Here's how this recent scam works: the person calls you up and tries to get you to complete some tasks on your computer to show that your computer is infected. Then, the scammers strike.

"What they are going to try to do is get your info and then they are going to try to get money from you. The more you talk to these people, the more you will lose," says Gallagher.

If you get a call, the best thing to do is to simply hang up.

Here are some things you need to be on the lookout for: first, remember Microsoft will not make unsolicited calls to help fix your computer; second, Microsoft won't ask for credit card info to verify your copy of Windows; third, there's no such thing as a 'Microsoft lottery.'

For more information, visit Microsoft's Safety and Security Center.

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