Watch Out for Tech Support Calls, It Could be a Scam - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Watch Out for Tech Support Calls, It Could be a Scam

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It's the classic scam – a fake tech support caller claims he needs access to your computer to fix a non-existent bug. But a new twist involves the caller actually installing a virus on their victims' computers. 

How the Scam Works:

You get a telephone call from someone claiming to be with tech support from a well-known software company. Microsoft is a popular choice but Nebraskans are also getting calls from "PC Wizard". The callers often have strong accents but use common names such as Bill or Adam.  The scammers may know your name and other personal information which they get from publicly available phone directories. They may even guess successfully what computer operating system you are using.

The caller tells you that your computer is sending error messages and they have detected a virus on it. They say only a tech support employee can remove the virus AND you need to grant them access to your computer. If you give the OK, the caller will run a scan of your files and actually point out how the virus has infected the computer. Then, they offer to remove the virus for a fee and to give them your credit card number and details. 

The new twist is, that those who allow the caller remote access to their computers, whether they paid for the virus to be removed or not, report difficulties with their computer afterwards.  Some report their computer will not turn on or they can't access certain programs or files. If the victim takes their computer in for repair, real tech support staff confirm malware has been installed which is accessing information from your computer. 

What to do if "Tech Support" calls:

  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support firm that you are doing business with already. 
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to anyone over the phone.
  • Take the caller's information and report it to your local police force and the BBB. 
  • If you did allow access to your computer
    • Change passwords for your computer, your email and your online banking and credit card accounts.
    • Be sure to run a legitimate virus scan.
    • Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report if you did share personal and credit card information.
    • Call the BBB at 1-800-649-6814.

For more information about this and other scams, go to bbb.org.

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