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‘Tech Support’ scam costs resident $37,000

By Staff | Jun 15, 2015

It started with a phone call. The man on the other end of the line said he was with the “anti-fraud department” and was calling because a virus had been detected on the victim’s computer. Unaware that she was about to be part of an elaborate tech support scheme, the unsuspecting 77-year-old woman who really was having technical trouble, was persuaded by the smooth talking con-artist to hand over remote access to her computer.

For nearly two months, the scammer called the victim every day requesting money to be sent via Moneygram to India, China, and Bangledesh to cover the cost of repairs. Although she did wire transfer several thousand dollars to the fraudster, the majority of her money disappeared after he was able to access her bank account online and empty it out. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize her money was gone until it was too late and losses totaled $37,000.

“Although scams of this sort started several years ago, many consumers are still unaware of the tactics used by these swindlers that are designed to scare computer users into believing they can help them,” the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said in a prepared statement “If you get a call from someone who claims to be a tech support person, hang up and call the company yourself on a phone number you know to be genuine.”

The Sheriff’s Office urges the public to keep these tips in mind:

* A caller who creates a sense of urgency or high pressure tactics is probably a scam artist (www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/ftc-combats-tech-support-scams). On this link is an actual recording of one of those callers.

* Never give control of your computer to a third part you do NOT know.

* Do not rely on caller ID to authenticate a caller as numbers can be spoofed.

* Avoid online searches to find technical support. If you want tech support, look for a company’s contact information on their software package or on your receipt.

* Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from tech support.

To report a fraud or scam, contact the Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 258-2382.

Source: Lee County Sheriff’s Office