‘Unplug that computer!’ son tells mom after Microsoft scammers take control

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

When Jeff came home to visit his 75-year-old mother in Idaho Falls during the 4th of July holiday, he was flabbergasted.

“They told her that she had several viruses on her computer,” he says. “She hadn’t been on the computer in over a month.”

But, a slick-talking James, from Techylink.com, had said that was all the more reason he needed to take control of her computer remotely and make the changes, since the viruses had just been sitting there.

“I just had to tell her, ‘Unplug that computer!’,” Jeff says. “I knew this was bunk.”

She’d already spent $309.95 for a service she did not need, and a follow-up service charge.

“We took it to a repair guy, and went to the bank,” Jeff says.

This is the Microsoft computer repair scam. It works like this: A caller claims to be a Microsoft representative and he/she says you have a serious virus they are tracking and they need access to your computer to get rid of it. If you give in, they will direct you to a website or to download a program that gives them access to your computer.
Remember, Microsoft does not track individual computers unless they have registered a Microsoft product – Word, Xcel, PowerPoint, etc. The caller does not work for Microsoft; in fact, Microsoft warns on their website that they do not make these types of calls.
If you follow the callers instructions, you give a stranger access to the data on your computer; putting you at risk for identity theft, and lose any money/payments you make to the caller.
Jeff says the bank was able to stop both charges – including the $94 service charge. The first charge was made by TechyLink and the second by “Alex Prex Prees.”
Other points:
  • Microsoft and other computer and software companies do not make unsolicited calls offering tech support.
  • Do not follow the callers instructions. If you need tech support and don’t have a protection plan, contact a trusted computer or software company at a number you know to be valid. Contact BBB for a list of Accredited Businesses in this category.
  • Never share personal information, such as bank account and credit card numbers, with anyone you don’t know who contacts you.
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2 Comments

Filed under Scam alert

2 responses to “‘Unplug that computer!’ son tells mom after Microsoft scammers take control

  1. Mark Burrows

    This is the very reason I encourage people of all ages to teach themselves the intricate workings of a computer. Yes, I know it is a difficult chore because there are those that tend to speak in technical terms that boggle the mind. Yet, if you are diligent and make requests to the creators of your Operating System whether it is Microsoft, Apple, Linux, or others that you are not technically inclined that you require explanations a layperson can understand, someone will come to your rescue.
    I work in a volunteer capacity in my own community as a computer clean up person, but only for Seniors and I only go in through requested agencies and Seniors societies. There are a few of us who do so and enjoy the volunteer work. We do not ever leave programs on computers, we only recommend what programs they can purchase in the way of Antivirus protection, and such. These opinions are own from experience and we do not act as agents for these products. We leave the choices up to them. Our purpose is only to clean up computers, answer questions, and provide a few operation instructions to make things more simple.
    I would recommend that you appeal to your community societies to see if they can find such volunteers. Volunteers who work among the public should be required to sign a document stating they volunteer out of desire to contribute their skills to the community without the want, need, or desire of personal gain or recognition. This document will bond them to their honesty and humanitarian nobility.

    Mark Burrows

  2. Thank you for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts
    and I will be waiting for your next post thanks once again.

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