How it works:
This scam typically takes advantage of the elderly or people who are not computer savvy. A telephone scammer (usually from a distant state like California) contacts a resident to inform them that their computer has been infected with a virus. The scammer may claim to work for “Windows”, “Microsoft” or some other reputable computer company. Over 75% of US households have a computer in the home, so the odds are good that the scammer will reach a potential victim.
The scammer plays on the victim’s fear and quickly gains their trust. The victim is guided by the scammer through what sounds like an IT telephone support process. This gives the scammer remote access to the victim’s computer. The victim is shown fictitious virus messages on their monitor which further convinces them that they need the caller’s help. The scammer then tells the victim that they can remotely “fix” the computer. Since it seems legitimate, the victim willingly provides all of their credit card information over the telephone. Victims may only realize that they have been scammed once an excessive charge or multiple unauthorized transactions appear on their credit card.
What to do:
Do document the name and phone number of the person calling you. Scammers will often terminate the call if questioned extensively.
Do install commercial anti-virus software on your computer and conduct regular scans for viruses and malicious software.
Do not give remote access to your computer, laptop or tablet to an unknown person contacting you via telephone or unsolicited pop-up messages. Only give remote access to reputable companies when you have initiated contact through a verified telephone number or website. Giving remote access to your computer may lead to identity theft, loss of data, or other crimes.
Do not provide any personal information in response to unsolicited phone calls or e-mails.
Do report fraudulent credit card activity and/or identity theft to the Darien Police Department.