In 2011, Rick Montemurro, a local computer technician, was warning people about a computer scam, and it appears to still be going on in the region.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is now warning people about a scam involving cold calls claiming to be from Microsoft tech support, sounding just like the ones reported by Montemurro of Max IT in 2011.
The callers reportedly claim to work for Microsoft and they have reports the person’s computer needs to have a virus removed. The caller then gains remote access to the person’s computer, allowing them to install malicious software which can give them access to personal information, direct the person to fraudulent websites where they enter credit card information.
According to the BBB, Microsoft’s Online Safety and Security Centre would never make unsolicited phone calls to clients.
The warning by the BBB said Prince George-area consumers reported the caller had a foreign accent.
In order to convince the customers the calls are legitimate, they install fear in the customer their computer is infected with a virus or spyware and in danger of failing or the computer is sending out spam emails due to a virus.
So far, the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre has reported over $505,000 in losses by victims of the scam across Canada just last year, and in B.C. this year there has already been $10,000 in losses by 38 reported victims.
To protect yourself from these types of scams, the BBB is advising people to never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can positively confirm they are from a company you are already a customer of, do not provide credit card or personal information to the caller, and take down the caller’s information and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
If you have provided access to your computer, change your passwords for email and online banking and run a virus scan for spyware and even put an alert on your credit report.