Police are warning computer owners about a scam involving a bogus company claiming to be Microsoft’s technical support.
The calls are not coming from Microsoft’s technical support department, Microsoft is not involved in any way.
An 84-year old man from Edmonton, has lost over $175,000 in the past two years to these cyber-criminals.
The scammers contacted the victim almost daily.
At the beginning, he took a phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft, who then informed the man he had a virus on his computer and they would fix it for $200.
The man gave them his credit card number, in which he was charged for $600.
The victim noticed the amount taken from his credit card and contacted the believed Microsoft company to get a refund.
The fraudsters told him in order to get his refund, he needed to wire them money to get a transaction started.
The man became so obsessed with receiving the refund document it affected his daily routine. He wouldn’t attend family functions or even take a shower the day he thought the delivery would arrive.
When the mans family tried to intervene, he started hiding his interactions with the scammers from them.
“He was lonely. His whole day revolved around these phone calls,” stated Detective Bill Allen. “Whenever he ran into a stumbling block in the whole scheme, they would give him instructions on how to get around those stumbling blocks.
“These people have this guy totally under their control. Even to this day, he feels I interfered with his document. He wasn’t understanding that he was being deceived and there was not going to be a refund, and it didn’t matter if he sent $100,000.”
It is believed that the fraudsters are operating out of India. The Detective said Western Union shut down wire transfer outlets in that country because they were being used excessively to receive hustled money.
Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to these types of scams. This is partly because they do not realize how advanced computer technology is. Seniors also tend to be more trusting and do not understand how slick cyber-criminals are.
Allen said, many victims are afraid to admit to relatives they have been deceived, as it may convince relative they can no longer live independently.
Learn the ways to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams:
- Do not purchase software or services from callers
- If there is a fee or subscription, do not comply
- Never hand over control to your computer unless you can verify the company’s legitimacy
- Take down the callers information and report them
- Never provide your credit card or financial information
One-third of attempted scams are successful. These cyber-criminals are professional pirates.
If you have been a victim to a cyber scam you can go to these sites to report them.
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By Keith Gerein, Edmonton Journal
Police warn about computer tech-support scam after Edmonton man loses $175,000
Published May 14, 2014