On Your Side Alert: Tech support phone scam continues - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

On Your Side Alert: Tech support phone scam continues


If you have a computer in your home, this warning is for you. Crooks are randomly calling the public, claiming there is a problem with their computer. 

They want your money and they are calling you to get it. A persistent scam is the bogus Computer Tech Support Call. Criminals claim they are with a major computer company. Microsoft even has a warning on its website. 

The pitch they make is that something is wrong with your computer, and the caller can fix it now -- for a price. It's typically hundreds of dollars. Tom Gallagher with the Richmond Better Business Bureau says seniors are most vulnerable due to their lack of computer knowledge. "Windows is not going to call you that way. Microsoft is not going to call you that way. If somebody calls you that way, hang up the phone," Gallagher says. 

The longer they can keep you on the phone, the better chances they have of getting your money. "Really, what they want is your credit card information, more than that, they want any money. If you have given your credit card number out to somebody, call the three credit agencies right away," he said. 

Kevin Boynton with The Computer Doctor of Richmond says once these crooks gain remote access to your computer, they know which buttons to push to make you panic.  "They will point out some things that look scary but they are really not. To a trained eye that knows what they are looking for, whether it is in the registry or event logs, it's really nothing malicious," Boynton said. 

Crooks cold call and hope you take the bait. Locally, the BBB says victims have lost hundreds of dollars and even given up their credit card information. "More than likely, they can't get back into your computer. But it also depends on who it is and who you let in. If you don't know who you let in the computer, we are likely not going to know who you let into your computer," Boynton said. 

If you think you've been a victim, the BBB recommends placing a fraud alert with the three credit bureaus, getting a free copy of your credit report and filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and your local police department.  You can also get in touch with a reputable computer repair company to take a look at your computer. 

While it may be deceptive, keep in mind some of these companies may be providing some type of service when you give them access, even if it's not what they claim they are doing. "If you paid for a 'service,' then you paid for it. You agreed to it. You gave them your credit card number, they didn't take the card number from you, they didn't steal it from your computer," Boynton said.

Experts say the reason this ploy continues to be a problem, is because people keep falling for it.  

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