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Local woman nearly falls victim to scammer

Scott Seitz2 • Jan 23, 2014 at 9:07 PM

If there is the slightest doubt in your mind, never provide personal information over the phone or via the Internet.

Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard reminds residents of this very thing after a recent incident involving a Norwalk woman, who nearly fell victim to a scammer.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said she received a telephone call from a man claiming he was from "Microsoft."

The man told the woman her computer was infected with viruses and would crash within three days, causing her to lose all the information stored on it.

The man requested remote access to the computer and a credit-card number.

The woman initially gave the "scammer" remote access to the computer, but then called her own computer technician who advised her to immediately shutdown her computer which she did.

The "scammer" claimed he was from Indiana, but later research indicated he may have been calling from India.

After the call ended, the woman called her bank and canceled all her credit cards and believes she avoided losing any money.

"It's been a rough week," she said.

"I want to tell folks to never give out your information if you don't know who you are dealing with," the sheriff said.

"And, don't rely on the information from you caller I.D," Howard added. "Scammers have the technology to show the call is coming from a bank, but the call could be coming from anyone.

"Even if you get a call from your financial institution, call them back," he said.

"The vast majority of these calls come from Canada, with a link to Uganda and also other places in Africa," the sheriff said.

Howard said never surrender remote access of your computer.

"These are very significant crimes," he added.

That are nearly impossible to prosecute.

"We've worked with the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) in the past and there's no real way to prosecute these individuals," Howard said. "We have no jurisdiction and the victims are never vindicated."

The sheriff said this isn't the only ongoing scam.

"Another scams involves senior citizens, where the scammers quick-talk the victim on the phone," he said. "They might say they are stranded in St. Louis and send $700. They play on their heart strings.

"You need to be very cautious and call authorities," Howard said.

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