January 7, 2014 6:40 pm
Updated: January 7, 2014 9:23 pm

Phone scam targets computer users

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CALGARY- A notorious telephone scam has resurfaced in Calgary, and it’s targeting anyone who owns a computer.

Karen Williamson recently got a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft, saying their records showed error messages on her computer. Coincidentally, she had been having issues, so she allowed the person to remotely access her PC to fix it.

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“I kept questioning him all through it, like ‘who are you, I don’t know who you are, why would I give you access to my computer,’ but he kept saying, ‘I’m from Microsoft, I told you I’m from Microsoft.’”

However, when the caller asked for her credit card number to bill for the service, she hung up—but still found herself locked out of her computer. She had to have her hard drive stripped and software replaced.

Security experts say the scam is less about getting money, and more about gaining access to computer files.

“Even though they may have charged you to remove what they say was there, there could be lots of different programs installed and left there for them in the future to come back and access your computer,” warns Cst. Carter Duchesney from the Calgary Police Service.

Scammers may also identify themselves as employees from companies like Shaw or Telus. Legitimate companies don’t monitor computer activity, and will never call offering to fix a problem.

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