You have just received a phone call from an official-sounding computer company, most probably Microsoft and the caller says there are viruses in your household computer and offers to repair the problem through the Internet. You might think how responsible of them to do that. And you might even agree to follow the “repair” steps but think long and hard before you do that.
For the last few months, some scammers have been using the phone to rob people off their money. When the unaware respondents agree to have their computers repaired, the scammers install a virus that allows them remote access to the computer, where they can get the victim’s personal information. The caller also asks for the victim’s credit card information to “pay for the service.”
This is what Saskatchewan people have been going through and some 50 people have reported the scam to RCMP since March 15. The scam, which has already cost about $1,500, with losses ranging from $60 to $349, has been bringing in over 3,200 complaints at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre since January.
When somebody says your computer’s at risk, you automatically think of confronting the issue right away. Of course, you are wise enough to avoid Internet popup warnings, but the phone is something you let your guard down around. And that is what these scammers have been taking advantage of.
Most callers are persistent and when rejected, get huffy as in the case of Reginan Jamie Rabbetz, who got his most recent call a few weeks ago. And as others do not know what they are talking about, they hang up when on being asked too many questions.
Rumour has it that the calls are coming from India, but the operation could be running from Canada as well and is targeting people across the country. So, what do you do to protect yourself from these phone scams? Keep your virus software up to date, and be mindful of who is asking for personal information on the other end of your phone line and remember that Microsoft isn’t going to contact you out of the blue.
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