(HURON COUNTY, ON) – A Blyth resident is hopeful his experience with a recent scam will help prevent others from becoming a victim.
The victim, a man in his 70’s reported he was nearly taken for $18,000 after he got snagged up in a tech support scam. The victim reported his laptop was targeted with a virus that froze up his screen in the form of a pop up window. He responded to the number provided and called to get his computer up and running again. While speaking with the supposed tech support agents he was informed they had completed a diagnostic check on his computer and several viruses and issues were found on his computer.
The scammer then proceeded to gain remote access to the victim’s computer and installed a product that was supposed to act as an anti-virus software program. The victim reported the product appeared to work as expected however a few weeks passed and he was contacted by the agent and was advised they could no longer provide this service. The agent proceeded to tell the victim they would refund him the $400 USD he paid for the service to his bank account. A few days passed and then he was contacted once again by the scammers and this time they told him that they had refunded him too much in error and they asked for him to send the extra $18,000 back to their overseas bank account.
The victim reported the scammers accessed his online account and showed him the $18,000 in his bank account so he thought it was safe to proceed. He went to his local branch with the intention of sending an international money transfer however he was alerted to the scam by his bank.
The victim learned the scammers shifted the funds from a seldom used account into his chequing account without his knowledge. The victim reported the scammers were very persistent and had called him a dozen times in a matter of an hour on the day when he was supposed to send the money transfer.
The victim in this matter is very thankful his bank alerted him to this scam otherwise he would have been out a very significant amount of money.
Here are some tips on how to spot and avoid tech support scams
Most often tech support scams come in the form of a “pop-up” window and they may try to look like a trusted antivirus software company. They will want you to call a toll-free number, they will create a sense of urgency and they will threaten you that you may lose personal data if you don’t call. They will then ask for a fee for products that they want to sell you to help clean up your computer. These products range from worthless to malicious.
This is what you should do.
- If you get a phone call you didn’t expect from someone who says there’s a problem with your computer, hang up.
- If you get a pop-up warning on your computer alerting you to a security issue, even though it may look legitimate, never call the provided number to get help. Real security warnings and messages will never ask you to call a phone number.
- Do not click on any links or call a phone number.
- Don’t send any money or make a wire transfer.
- Don’t pay with a gift card.
- Don’t give anyone your bank account, credit card or other payment information.
- Don’t give anyone control of your computer.
- Keep your security software up to date.
- If you need help, contact a computer technician that you trust
- Report the matter to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre.ca or by calling 1-888-495-8501.
- Tell someone about this scam, as you might help prevent someone else getting scammed.