A local computer technician is warning people to be careful what they put on their computers.
According to Rick Montemurro, the store manager for Max Internet Technologies Inc (Max IT), two people have fallen victim to a scam to gain computer access.
Max IT is an internet and computer solution business in town.
After clicking on a “fishing” site or link, spyware goes onto the computer which allows the scammers to hone in on a target.
The people then receive phone calls from very convincing persons posing as employees of software companies, insisting there are problems with their computers and the victim must install something on their computer to remedy the problem.
Instead of fixing anything, however, the installation is remote access software, allowing another computer to see and access everything on the computer.
Montemurro says the remote computer can then store bank account numbers and “see” people enter passwords.
In order to fix the problem, Montemurro has had to erase the entire contents of the hard drive on the computers and reinstall all of the original software.
This could mean losing a lot of personal things on a computer, as everything put back onto the computer has to first be scanned and checked.
“It’s a massive process,” says Montemurro. “It’s not a little bit of inconvenience, it’s a big inconvenience.”
Montemurro says some people even get spyware when they think they are clicking on a false antivirus download.
In order to prevent infection by spyware, Montemurro advises people not to let others use your computer, not to download “free” music or videos illegally, as these are an easy vehicle for viruses or spyware, and not to open anything that looks weird or is not from someone you know and trust.
In families with children using the computer, he even suggests having the kids use a separate computer entirely without any important banking or personal information, and to ensure the two computers are not sharing information on a home wireless network, otherwise one infected computer can also access other household computers.
He also says having a Mac will help prevent virus infection, as there are still far fewer viruses designed for the Mac platform, or use Linux instead of Windows on a PC.
While the local RCMP said they have received some phone calls regarding computer scams, they haven’t had any formal complaints filed.
They would normally refer people on to Phone Busters, which is a toll-free Canada-wide RCMP service dealing with fraud at 1-888-495-8501.