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By Contributed photo
BY BLAIR LOONEY Contributing columnist
Dear Action Line: I got a call from someone with a heavy accent by the name of Jennifer Adams. She claimed she was from a pc company and getting message errors from my computer. She said my computer was downloading unwanted data that could contain a virus.
She wanted me to turn my computer on while she walked me through the steps to stop it. I refused and said I would call my computer manufacturer to resolve any issues.
I also told her I would never just do something like that from a random phone call without first checking out their business. I know if I were to have done that I would have downloaded whatever scam she was running. The scary thing is I'm sure they scare some people into doing it and then steal their identity and bank accounts and so on.
Dear Reader: I'm glad you did not become the latest victim. We have seen and heard about many attempts from scammers like this. You are absolutely right! They are not looking to help you fix any computer issues. Consumers have advised that the callers indicated they are calling from Windows, Dell or Microsoft. They are not.
They are looking to gain access to your computer so they can get your personal bank information, email list, logins, passwords or any other private information stored on your computer. By giving them access, you are compromising your personal identity.
We have also had reports from consumers that these callers, if they gain access to your computer, may actually infect your computer with malware or viruses. They can then offer you tech support -- for a fee, of course. The fees reported to us range anywhere from $59 to $389. The callers are always polite. If you are the least bit uneasy about computers, these callers make it easy for you to trust them.
What can you do if you receive an unsolicited call?
Don't talk to them.
Just say no to calls offering unsolicited tech support and hang up.
Never, ever give anyone access to your computer unless you are CERTAIN about whom you are dealing with.
If you suspect that your computer has a virus or malware, you can usually take care of it yourself by running your own virus protection or any malware software.
If you need a professional, check with companies approved by the BBB before you hire someone to do the service.
Do not go to any of the websites they give you.
Never share personal information like credit cards or bank account information.
If you have a pc, here are some things you can do to help keep it secure:
* Update passwords regularly, and make sure the passwords are strong;
* Make sure security updates are updated regularly; and
* Make sure anti-virus software is turned on and up to date.
Blair Looney is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 1601 H. St., Suite 101, Bakersfield, CA 93301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.