State Police: Tips For Avoiding Scams

Posted at 1:58 PM, Oct 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-10 14:06:48-04

Computer-keyboardWest Michigan. — The Michigan State Police want to remind residents that scams can take many different forms.

A local resident reported receiving calls from people claiming her computer was not functioning properly and she needed to relicense her Microsoft Windows program on her computer.  She added that an acquaintance received a similar call recently.

This scam involved the caller obtaining access to the victim’s computer by using a legitimate remote support website.  The scammer portrayed a sense of urgency by informing the victim that her computer would stop functioning normally and continue to send error reports unless the victim allowed the caller to fix the problem remotely.

The caller asked for credit card information to bill the victim $254 to cover the repair and a 3 year re-licensing of Microsoft Windows.  Another caller re-contacted the victim a few weeks later and instructed her to go into the remote support site once again to do a check-up on her system.  It was during this interaction that the victim received an instant message from the remote support site informing her that she was being victimized by a scam artist.

If you have received similar calls and allowed remote access to your computer, your personal information may have been compromised.  It is recommended that you contact your credit card companies and banking institutions, obtain and review a copy of your credit report from the credit reporting agencies to determine if anyone has obtained credit in your name, and contact the social security administration.  You may also want to consult a professional to check your computer.

Remember, these scam artists can be very convincing and they use fear and a sense of urgency to persuade their victims to cooperate.  If you receive an unsolicited call, do not provide access to your credit or computer without independently verifying the source.

Additional tips to avoid becoming a scam victim:

  • Do not give personal information to unknown callers.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails from unknown senders.
  • Confirm the identity of a contact by independently speaking with the identified source (your bank, credit card company, government agency, etc.).
  • Use a reliable source, such as the phone book, to confirm the contact’s phone number or e-mail.
  • Report any suspicious contacts to police.