Computer users targeted by support scam
Scammers have refreshed an old computer con and are preying on people who are looking for some technical support.
CTV Calgary Consumer Specialist Lea Williams-Doherty looked into this scam last year and says now there's a new twist that is guaranteed to catch more victims.
In the old version, people would get a call from someone claiming to work for Microsoft, for example, telling them that their computer had a virus.
They say that they can fix it for a fee if the person gives them remote access to their computer.
The scam has been updated and now the bad guys are creating websites that look and sound similar to websites from trusted companies.
They make sure those websites rank high in the search results when people Google for tech support.
A Calgary man, who doesn't want to be identified, was victimized while trying to install his wireless router.
He searched for D-Link tech support online and thought he got an official rep on the phone.
The tech support rep immediately told him his D-Link router wasn't working because there were security problems with his computer.
“When we questioned whether or not it was a security problem, they said we can show you, look on your screen and there was a screen, whether it was a scam screen or a real screen I don't know but it had several red marks and they said those red marks indicate that those files have been compromised,” said the man.
The rep said he'd fix that and install the router for $500.
The man paid him and when his router still wasn't working he knew he'd been had.
Lea says to look very carefully at the web addresses when you do an online search to make sure you are contacting the right tech support company.
She says to be aware that the search results in the shaded box on top and often on the side are paid advertisements and scam companies often pay a lot to get top billing there.
People who do get taken in by the scam should:
- Cancel your credit card
- Flag file at credit unions
- Report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
- Take the computer in to a trusted source for repairs
For more information on recognizing a scam, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.