Attorney General George Jepsen on Friday warned Connecticut residents to be wary of telephone calls offering computer repair or security services because the calls are likely a scam that could prove costly.
“Scam callers are contacting Connecticut residents to warn them their computers are damaged or at risk of crashing,” Attorney General Jepsen said in a prepared release. “But don’t fall for the scare tactic to get you to buy services you don’t need or to access a bogus website that may install damaging malware on your computer.”
According to reports, the scammers typically know the consumer’s name and address and may identify themselves as calling from a company with a name such as “Global Tech.” They may also take steps to scramble the telephone number that appears on a consumer’s caller ID.
Rep. Diana Urban, D-43rd District, who received such a call and reported it to the Attorney General, said “I was amazed how pushy they were. It immediately worried me because I know my Mom would have done exactly what they said, and my mother is a senior citizen. I am pleased the Attorney General has acted so quickly to alert others.”
The callers warn consumers that their computers are sending out error messages, or are infected with viruses or other malware. The scammers then assure consumers that, for a fee, they can fix the damage, but only if the consumers will allow them remote access to the consumers’ computers.
If consumers agree, they are directed to go to a specific website and allow the scammers access to their computer systems. Instead of performing the promised repairs, however, the scammers may install dangerous malware that exposes consumers to the theft of sensitive personal information.
Thus, victims not only incur charges for unneeded or nonexistent services, they are also at risk for unauthorized credit card or bank charges or even identity theft. Victims may also be forced to pay for legitimate repair services to undo the damage caused by the scammers.
The Attorney General urged residents to report such calls to his office. He also advised consumers to remember the following:
- Never allow anyone to access your computer unless you know them or have confirmed their identity, and are sure that there is a legitimate need.
- Never reveal any personal information, including credit card or bank information, over the phone or by e-mail, particularly in response to unsolicited calls or other communications.
- Install a good quality firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software on your computer.
- Be sure to keep your operating system, security software and other key programs up to date by setting these programs to download updates automatically.
- Do not download software unless it is from a source you know and trust.
Never send payments to anyone unless you have confirmed that the person requesting the payment is legitimately entitled to it.