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.