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Better Business Bureau ®
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Northwest North Carolina
BBB Warns of Scam Phone Calls
Scammers are using computer safety issues to sell unneeded software and hack personal information
June 10, 2014

Winston-Salem, NC (June 10, 2014) – The Better Business Bureau of Northwest NC (BBB of NWNC) is warning consumers of recent scam concerning computer safety.  Scam artists are calling consumers and pretending to be technicians from companies such as Microsoft and making the claim they have detected viruses, malware or error messages from your computer to gain remote access or sell you software you do not need.  Brian Wright, CEO, BBB of NWNC experienced the scammers first-hand.

“These scam artists are taking advantage of legitimate news stories and warnings about the need for computer security software to prevent hacking and identity theft,” said Wright. “The scammers will often have your name and other basic information from a public directory and will say they represent a well-known software company or use confusing technical terms.”

 The scammer will ask you to go to your computer and perform a series of complex tasks often targeting legitimate computer files and claim that they are viruses to gain your trust.  Next, they may:

  • Request remote access to your computer and disable your security settings.
  • Enroll you in a fake computer maintenance or warranty program.
  • Solicit credit card information and you for fake services.
  • Install malware that could steal user names and passwords.
  • Direct you to websites to try to gain credit card numbers and other personal information.

“Scams such as these are very believable,” Wright continued. “I actually was a victim when the scammers called and convinced me to navigate to a part of my computer files I knew very little about. They convinced me to allow access to my computer and to buy a software fix for error messages emitting from my computer. Fortunately, I quickly realized I had made an error and was able to undo the damage.”

“As a consumer, do not be embarrassed if you fall for a scam such as this.  These scammers are professionals out to take your money and have perfected their craft.”

Wright encouraged scam victims to report any incidents to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint and NC Department of Justice at www.ncdoj.gov.

Following computer safety tips can prevent falling for these scams.

  • Never give control of your computer to an unknown third party.
  • Do not rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller. Criminals can spoof caller ID numbers.
  • Be wary of online search results to find technical support. Scammers will place online ads. Always contact your computer software company through phone numbers on their receipts and manuals.
  • Never give out your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from technical support.
  • Hang up on any caller that makes you uncomfortable or tries to pressure you into making a purchase. If you feel you have a legitimate security breach, call your security software company directly and ask for help.
  • Never give your password to anyone you do not know. No legitimate business will ask for your password.
  • Place your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry and report illegal calls.
  • Call your credit card company or bank and report any security breach or if you do purchase bogus software.