Computer fraud is rampant – people will call you and offer to fix a problem with your computer – they are after your money.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  March 5, 2013  There isn’t one of us that doesn’t find at some time that their computer isn’t doing what we wanted it to do and we are flummoxed in figuring out what has gone wrong.  So when someone calls saying they can help – all caution gets set aside and we eagerly answer the questions we are asked by the person who called.

We don’t ask – how does this person know I am having a problem with my computer?   As soon as you have answered the first two questions – they have you.  All that isn’t known is how far they are going to take you and how much of  your money they are going to end up with.  They are not going to fix anything on your computer but, according to the Regional Police they are probably going to install a virus on your computer and then try to convince you to pay them to remove that virus.

The best protection available is you asking questions.

March is Fraud Awareness Month – use the time to think about who you let near your computer.  If you don’t personally know the person calling – hang up.

The Halton Regional Police are warning  the public to be suspicious of any calls they receive from people claiming to be employed by a computer company that has become aware of a problem with your computer – they will tell you it is infected with as virus they can remove.

This is known as the “Anti-Virus Scam” which has been around for several years.  Between March 1st 2011 and August 31st 2012, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has received 13,842 complaints of this type with a total dollar loss of $814,511.00.  In most cases, these calls are originating from call centers based outside of Canada.

As part of this scam, the call recipient would be instructed to do a series of keyboard commands that would allow the caller to remotely access the computer over the internet and actually install the “virus” to make the computer appear to be infected.  The caller would then remove the “virus” and request credit card payment anywhere between $35.00 and $469.00 for their services.

In some instances, the same person will call back and report that the version of the security software has expired and request an additional $100.00 to have it re-activated.  They got you once and they figure they can get you a second time.

If you receive an unsolicited call from people telling you that your computer is infected with a virus or that your version of security software is inactive or invalid, you are urged to hang up – this is someone wanting to defraud you of money to fix a problem they may have created.

If you don’t know them – don’t deal with them.

Allowing a third-party, someone you don’t really know, to remotely access your computer, puts you at considerable risk.  They can install software that logs every keystroke you make and capture sensitive data , such as online banking user names and passwords, bank account information and other information to steal your identity.

Police are also reminding the public to be very careful about providing credit card and/or banking information to anyone over the phone and internet, especially in cases where the call was unsolicited.

March is Fraud Awareness Month.  Police ask you to please take the time to educate yourself, your family and your friends on how not to become victims of Fraud.  For further information, please visit www.haltonpolice.ca or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.


Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply