Scammer Claims Your Computer Has a Virus
On December 6, 2017, we received a report from a resident who fell victim to a known telephone and computer scam. The victim received a telephone call from a suspect that claimed her computer had a virus. The suspect asked her for remote control of her computer to allow him to fix it. He also asked her for her financial account information to arrange payment for the service he claimed to provide. The suspect accessed her account and drained it to a zero balance. He then demanded additional payment in the form of $3,000 in Walmart prepaid credit cards to undo the damage he had done.
This is a known scam that has many variations. There are two main ways that theses scammers will contact you. First, as was demonstrated in this case, the scammers dial random numbers until they convince someone that there is a virus on their computer. Another method that they make contact is with fake popup alerts when you are browsing the web on your computer. These alerts also claim there is a virus on your computer.
They usually claim they are from a prominent tech company, like Microsoft, and that they have detected unusual activity from your computer. The scammer will talk you through some routine computer maintenance, like checking your Event Viewer. They draw your attention to normal warnings that always appear in your Event Viewer. However, since most people don’t know that those warnings are normal, the suspect can convince victims that these warnings mean they have a virus. At this point, they talk the victim into downloading a program that gives them remote control of the victim’s computer. Sometimes they lock your computer and demand payment in order to unlock it. In this case, they drained the victim’s bank account and demanded additional payment to fix the situation.
Microsoft and other tech companies do not proactively contact you in this manner. See THIS BULLETIN from Microsoft:
“Remember, Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication we have with you must be initiated by you.”