BBB Consumer Tips: Remote Computer Access & Sweepstake Offers
Our friends at the Better Business Bureau have seen an increase in a couple of calls during the last couple of weeks, and Janna Kiehl informs us about these scams.
Don't Allow Remote Computer Access From Unknown Companies
How the scam works: A caller impersonates a Microsoft or other technology representative and claims there is a serious virus or issue with your computer. To "fix" the problem, the consumer is directed to visit a website or download a program that gives the caller remote access to log in to the computer.
The truth: The caller does not work for Microsoft; in fact, Microsoft warns on their website that they do not make these types of calls. If you follow the callers instructions, you give a stranger access to the data on your computer; putting you at risk for identity theft.
What to do:
Be wary of unsolicited calls. Know that these calls are fake. They are attempts to get you to give up private, personal information; access email files that can be used to send unsolicited email to your contacts that may contain viruses or even add programs to your computer you know nothing about.
Sweepstakes Offers Are Bogus
How the scam works: Calls to BBB regarding sweepstakes offers have increased. Many callers tell us they are promised a large sum of money or a Mercedes, both of which will be delivered to their home address at a certain time that day. Of course they have to pay a percentage of the winnings for taxes.
Callers are asked to purchase a money order for the amount and when the scammer calls back they will be asked for information on the check.
Others ask for bank account information or credit card information for the fake fees.
The Truth: If you win you receive with no strings attached. These scammers are trying to get money and personal information such as bank numbers from you. If they are successful they will continue to abuse your accounts. They will also call you repeatedly even offering to recover funds lost to this very scam!
What to do:
Ask to be removed from the callers list. Tell them you have alerted the authorities about this scam and they must remove your name and stop calling you when you ask them to.
Go to pch.com and view the list of winners. If your name is not on the list you have not won the PCH prize.
Report the fraud to the PUC and the FTC. You will need the callers actual phone number. Hang up on the caller.
Better Business Bureau
600 South Tyler, Suite 1300