SCAM ALERT: 'Windows' support phone scam targeting East Texans
POSTED: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 5:24pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 1:35pm
72-year-old Mack Brown of Tyler was the latest victim
Tyler, Texas (KETK) — A phone scam targeting East Texans is on the rise. The scam artists are calling mobile or land lines claiming to be from the computer company Microsoft. They say they are from “Windows” or the “Windows help desk.” Their most recent target was 72-year-old Mack Barton of Tyler.
Barton received the call about three weeks ago, "The phone rang and I picked it up, and the man said he was from windows, and I had viruses on my computer,” said Barton. The scammers then asked Barton for his email address, which he gave to them, and they gained access to his computer remotely.
Originally Barton says the scammers on the phone told him they were going to clean out the viruses in his computer from their remote location for free. However, Barton says by the end of the conversation they told him he had numerous viruses and he needed to pay the 250 dollar fee to clear them and install protective software. “I just assumed he was who he said he was,” Barton said. But, after calling in someone to his home to look at his computer a week later he realized he has been scammed.
He had to cancel his credit cards, and clear out his computer. Now he just wants the East Texas community to know about this scam so they don’t fall victim like he did.
Mechelle Mills, President and CEO of the the Better Business Bureau serving Central and East Texas said, "This would be considered an imposter scam, someone claiming to be someone who they're not,” Mills said this scam is likely to become more popular in the coming months, "Since Microsoft stopped servicing windows XP, and some of their office products on April 9th, we suspect there are going to be a lot of calls out there lots of emails saying hey if you're a windows user here we can help you.”
Here are safety tips from the BBB:
Microsoft’s Online Safety and Security Centre states that neither Microsoft nor its partners make unsolicited phone calls.
Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:
• Windows Helpdesk
• Windows Service Center
• Microsoft Tech Support
• Microsoft Support
• Windows Technical Department Support Group
•Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)
BBB advises consumers follow these tips to protect themselves from scammers attempting to access their computer:
• Go through your service provider directly. If you are concerned your computer may be exposed to viruses or other security threats, contact your service provider directly. Some providers offer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.
• Install virus detection. To help protect your computer from viruses make sure you have virus detection software installed on your computer. This software can also help identify if a virus appears on your computer.
• Don’t trust cold calls. Never give out personal information, over the phone, to someone you don’t know. If the caller claims there is a security threat to your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly.
• Find a computer repair company you can trust. Go to bbb.org to find a BBB Accredited Business you can trust.