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Community to be warned of computer scam

Friday, October 26, 2012

One Brazil woman almost fell for a computer scam recently.

After receiving a call supposedly from Microsoft, the woman was told they had been receiving messages from her computer, saying she had collected corrupted files during updates.

The Brazil woman, who asked to remain anonymous, was told her computer had many viruses and was going to crash. The foreign voice on the other side of the line said they were calling to help with the problem and needed to download software that would give them access inside the computer.

During the scam, the scammer, once having access inside the victim's computer, brings up a list of files and tells the victim the files are full of viruses. The phone call can take almost an hour as the scammer convinces the victim their computer is about to crash.

"I knew that, as of a week before, everything was fine," the woman told The Brazil Times. "But he convinced me that my computer had dangerous stuff on it, and I was infecting others every time I sent something."

The scammer will then show the victim they have no anti-virus software and asks them to purchase a protection plan. He gives the victim several options for six-month plans to lifetime plans, each going up in price with the extended period of time. The scammer then asks for a credit card number. In this instance, the woman was unsure about what to do. She said she wanted to think about it and asked for his phone number to call him back. The scammer became angry and pressured her more, but eventually gave her a fake name and phone number.

"As soon as I hung up, my computer went black and wouldn't turn back on," she said.

According to Nathan Lewis, technician at Computer Central, located at 537 E. National Ave., Brazil, the scammer locks the computer out so the victim can't get back into it.

"It's fixable for a technician, but not for the average customer," Lewis said, who has been seeing multiple variations of this same scam for the past year. "Because these people have remote control of your computer, they can look at any thing they like and can steal any personal information on there."

Lewis' advice for the community is, "If you get a call claiming they are from Microsoft and they say your computer has viruses, just hang up."

Anyone who been a victim of such a scam may call the Clay County Sheriff's Department to report it. Most of the scams come from places out of state or even overseas, according to Sheriff Mike Heaton. But he said the Sheriff's Department reports the scams to the Attorney General's Office in Indianapolis.

"Never give a credit card number out over the phone unless you know who you are talking to or you initiated contact with the company," Heaton advised.

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What can we do to prevent our computers from being taken over by remote control? Does any anti-virus program work? Did this lady have anything on her computer for protection?

-- Posted by My Dime on Fri, Oct 26, 2012, at 5:25 PM

@ my dime. They have to ask you for permission. There is a procedure you have to perform on your computer before they can have access to it. They just can't get on it and do whatever they want.

-- Posted by MS660 on Sat, Oct 27, 2012, at 7:01 AM

They don't have access until you give them access. If you didn't call them to help you fix a problem, don't do it. Even then, make sure that you are dealing with a reputable firm, like Microsoft. I've had problems and requested technical help to fix it where they needed access a couple of times. One time, after we got the problem resolved, the tech started a sales pitch for things I didn't need. I ended that conversation by revoking access.

You give them access, but you are still in control. The lady should have revoked permission with a mouse click before the scammer went too far.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sat, Oct 27, 2012, at 9:22 AM

i keep a back up hard drive on stand by at all times,when one goes to this i simply remove the harddrive and reinstall the other harddrive and continue.i realize the common consumer doesnt understand this but its that simple.if they call you instead of you calling them there is no problem with your system.if you receive an email indicating there is a problem with your system,move it to spam and delete it.

-- Posted by unclegrabby on Sun, Oct 28, 2012, at 12:09 AM

Great information to know, TIMES .. but how about indicating that the woman GAVE THEM PERMISSION (and that certain steps are required - it doesn't 'just happen') before causing wide-spread panic in town?


-- Posted by Emmes on Mon, Oct 29, 2012, at 11:53 AM

I understood from the story that she must have given them permission and info to allow them to get into her computer. I guess maybe it was not explicit enough.

-- Posted by indianamama on Mon, Oct 29, 2012, at 5:11 PM

You have to remember, the people who make these calls are targeting computer users who either are having problems, or think they might be. And these "support" guys are GOOD at convincing people they can help with whatever problem the users have, real or imaginary.

So before you condemn the person in this article for falling for this scam, try to remember that these guys do this all day, every day - so they have gotten extremely good at it, and can be extremely convincing. You'd be surprised at what even an above average computer user can be tricked into doing in the name of fixing a perceived problem.

- NL

See also:


-- Posted by ididntdoit on Wed, Oct 31, 2012, at 3:36 PM

Keep your pc updated and most of your problems will solve themselfs. Use online help on the pc, if need be they chat with you and talk you thru, at no charge or fee.

-- Posted by smallguysmalltown on Sat, Nov 3, 2012, at 12:05 AM

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