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David N. Kirkman
Task Force Alert
Chair
Asst Attorney General
Consumer Protection
NC Department of
Justice
P.O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602
919-716-6000

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TO NC SENIOR CONSUMER FRAUD TASK FORCE MEMBERS

******Alert #283******

About ten days ago, Task Force members Margrita Harrison and Dorothy Strickland with the Attorney General’s Tel-Fraud Unit began to receive reports from consumers about alarming phone calls from persons claiming to be tech support specialists with Microsoft. The Attorney General issued the following warning on Friday when it became clear that the calls were persisting and that similar calls had plagued consumers in other English-speaking countries recently.

Need tech support? Beware of the latest telemarketing scam, warns AG Cooper

Scammers posing as Microsoft tech support attempt to steal your information, money

Raleigh: North Carolina consumers have reported getting calls from phony tech support specialists who are out to access their personal information and steal their hard-earned money, Attorney General Roy Cooper warned today.

“Be suspicious of anyone who calls out of the blue offering to fix a problem with your computer,” Cooper said. “If you need assistance with your computer, seek out real help rather than responding to these calls.”

More than a dozen North Carolinians have called Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division in the last two weeks to report suspicious calls from phony tech support specialists claiming to be partners with Microsoft or Windows.

According to reports from consumers, the phony tech specialist claims that the consumer’s computer has a virus and that they can fix the problem. The caller then directs the consumer to take a series of steps, supposedly to get rid of the computer virus. Some consumers are asked to locate "Computer Options" on their computer, go to www.windowsonlinesupport.com, scroll down the page and run a scan on their computer.

Following the steps actually gives the phony tech specialist access to all of the data stored on the consumer’s computer. At this point, the scammer may demand payment for installing “security software.”

Consumers report that the callers have South Asian accents and are calling from a call center with a lot of background noise. Most consumers hang up rather than completing the steps, but the tech support scammers often call back.

The calls seem to target seniors and other consumers who may not be as technologically savvy.

If you receive one of these phony tech support calls, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Microsoft and other computer and software companies do not make unsolicited calls offering tech support.
  • Do not follow the caller’s instructions. If you need tech support, contact the computer or software company at a number you know to be valid.
  • Never share personal information, such as bank account and credit card numbers, with anyone you don’t know who contacts you.

If you’ve fallen victim to this or a similar scam:

  • Contact your bank or credit card company to dispute the charge for any money you paid.
  • Immediately run anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer.
  • Monitor your credit report and place a security freeze on your credit, especially if you store sensitive financial information on your computer or use it to bank online.

Consumers who have questions or may have fallen victim to this scam should contact Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division. Call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a consumer complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.

http://www.ncdoj.gov/News-and-Alerts/News-Releases-and-Advisories/Press-Releases/Need-tech-support--Beware-of-the-latest-telemarket.aspx

Noelle Talley
Public Information Officer
N.C. Department of Justice
Desk: (919) 716-6484
After hours: (919) 218-1255
ntalley@ncdoj.gov
www.ncdoj.gov


******End of Alert******

Date: November 7, 2011

David N. Kirkman
Task Force Alerts Chair
Assistant Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
Office of Attorney General Roy Cooper
114 West Edenton Street
9001 Mail Processing Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
Tel. 919-716-6000
Fax 919-716-6050

 

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NC Senior Consumer
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