Beware of computer scams

For consumers who lose money, the average reported loss is about $200.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jan 29, 2014

In recognition of Data Privacy Day, which Tuesday, Attorney General Mike DeWine warned Ohioans to beware of computer repair scams that trick consumers into providing personal information or payment.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received dozens of reports of computer repair scams. For consumers who lose money, the average reported loss is approximately $200.

“Detecting and avoiding scams is one important way to protect your personal information and your money,” Attorney General DeWine said. “If someone contacts you unexpectedly, claiming you have a computer problem, be careful. It’s probably a scam. Never give an unexpected caller your credit card number or access to your computer.”

The computer repair scam often begins when the consumer receives a phone call from someone who claims that the consumer’s computer has a virus or needs an update. The caller often claims to represent a computer company and asks to access the consumer’s computer from the caller’s outside location. The caller also may ask for the consumer’s credit card number to clear up the issue.

In reality, the caller is not associated with a legitimate computer company and consumers who respond to the calls risk losing money or jeopardizing their computer security. The con artist may be able to access personal information, such as passwords or bank account information, putting victims at risk of identity theft.

Consumers can protect themselves by taking the following steps:

    While browsing online or checking e-mails, be cautious of links, attachments, and other downloads. Viruses often are encrypted in websites or e-mails that appear to be legitimate.
    Ensure that the latest version of anti-virus software is installed on your computer.
    Never allow callers to access your computer from a distant location. Once they have access to your computer, they have access to information stored on your computer and can install malware.
    Never opt to have your usernames and passwords automatically stored on your computer.
    Change your passwords often and opt to use only words and numbers that aren’t easily associated with your identity. For example, don’t use family or pet names, phone numbers, or birth dates as your passwords.
    If your computer is compromised, do not pay someone who calls you unexpectedly to correct the problem. Instead, visit a local, reputable repair shop and ask a technician to restore the hard drive to factory settings. Then, reinstall backup files and software.

Consumers who suspect a scam or unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at (800) 282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.

Comments

csnighthawk

In today's Sandusky Register 11/29/13-

Norwalk’s mayor says city officials regret mailing out thousands of postcards that list the Social Security numbers of local taxpayers.

More than 8,000 of the postcards were sent to Norwalk taxpayers, providing them instructions on filling out their income tax returns.

City officials have asked the recipients to destroy the cards.

Who authorized for the numbers to be on the cards in the first place?
Who else has the City of Norwalk given access to our numbers?

Contango

Good catch.

Nothing like the city potentially helping ID thieves huh?

"Norwalk: Sorry about the SSN on postcards":

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

Yet MORE incompetency compliments of the Duncan admin.

lugnut2511

They think mailing an apology fixes everything, well it doesn't and these elected official need to be held accountable as well!

Shannon2

Not sure about any of that (mailings and SS#s), but these scammers kept calling us, like at 8 a.m. or earlier, wanting us to get up and turn on our computer. Some foreign-speaking guy with an American-sounding name. He called back a different day, giving us a different name. Claimed to be with Microsoft. Glad to know we're not the only ones getting calls like that. We didn't take the bait, though.

starryeyes83

I was getting those same calls three or four times a day until I called him on his fake name and fake Microsoft BS.

I haven't had a call since

ladydye_5

I have taken to asking THEM questions. I am seeing how long it takes to get them to hang up on ME. I love getting them flustered. It is so easy, and FUN.

Contango

@ NR:

Where's this MAJOR story?

"Norwalk: Sorry about the SSN on postcards"

The Duncan admin. didn't ask for or look at a proof?

Thumper

I am more than a little sorry, I am pissed that this SS number was sent in mail...When can I expect full identity coverage for my number that was sent out for anyone to see? Target just had to offer coverage to people who were at possible risk and I expect the same from this city for doing it. Somebody needs a wake-up call at city hall....

Thumper

Please send me my I.D. security, Life Lock, when you get all the details City of Norwalk... I expect to hear from you soon.

JudgeMeNot

The online version of the Reflector is a joke.

Kottage Kat

I smell a rat.