Vancouver, BC - April 04, 2013 - Multiple consumers have told the BBB in British Columbia that they have been contacted by an overseas computer repair company offering virus protection and claiming to work for Microsoft.
Last year, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported over $505,000 lost to the scam with $63,000 of victim's losses from BC. This year in BC, the scam has taken over $10,000 from 38 victims ($88,000 overall).
How it works?
Consumers say they are being told by these callers that their computer has viruses and is in need of protection that only they can offer. Microsoft has no connection with these calls and will not call your home to offer virus protection. These calls are aimed at gaining remote access to your computer and collecting exorbitant fees for their services.
According to Microsoft, after gaining access to the computer, these callers can then install malicious software, steal personal information, take control of the computer remotely or direct consumers to fraudulent websites where they are asked to enter their credit card information.
Microsoft's Online Safety and Security Centre states that neither Microsoft nor its partners make unsolicited phone calls.
Several Prince George-area consumer described the caller as having a foreign accent, and according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, the origins of the calls may be from India.
The caller may make the following claims to appear legitimate:
“Always be wary of cold-calls,” says Danielle Primrose, President and C.E.O. of BBB serving Mainland BC. “Never give out personal information or remote access to your computer to someone you don’t know. If they claim there is a security threat to your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly.”
BBB advises consumers follow these tips to protect themselves from scammers attempting to access their computer: