“Tech support scam” can happen to anyone
Anybody can fall victim to a scam. The latest happening worldwide, the tech support scam. Scam artists posing as a computer technicians involved with well-known companies claim that some problem has been detected and that they can help. But that “help” comes at a price.
The green lights indicate that the computer is on. But no matter how many times Harry Miner presses the power button, the screen remains black.
“Nothing works,” he says.
He received 17 calls on his home phone. Because they already knew his name when they called, he says he was gullible enough to believe that a company would give him $250. Miner gave the callers personal information and they were able to gain control over his computer. Then they told him he owed money.
“They told me if I didn’t send them $600 then they would kill my computer, which you can see that they have,” says Miner.
And he isn’t alone. Your computer could have a virus and you might not even know it. Simply browsing the internet or opening an email can put you at risk of a hacker gaining access to your computer and information.
“If you get an email with an attachment and you’re not expecting it then don’t open it because chances are good that it’s a virus. Those types of things can be used to actually gain control over your computer and once they have a doorway in, they can do all sorts of stuff with it,” says Tony Flint, an IT specialist.
Keeping your computer up to date, having a good anti-virus program and secure passwords can help to protect your information. If you’ve been hacked, unplug your computer and get it off the internet.
“These things can be tricky to remove. Sometimes it requires wiping the computer completely,” says Flint.
Miner is not sure if he can get a fix. He might just buy a new computer but wants to warn others.
“I just sure hope it doesn’t, or hasn’t already, happened to someone else,” he says.
IT specialists say never give control of your computer to a third party who calls you out of the blue and to just hang up.