Woman warns others after falling for computer phone scam - KPTV - FOX 12

Woman warns others after falling for computer phone scam

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WEST LINN, OR (KPTV) -

It started with a simple phone call.

Soon, Barbara Friedman found herself being pulled into a phone scam targeting her computer. She said the caller claimed to work for tech support.

"He was very professional, very matter of fact," said Friedman. "He said, ‘I represent Microsoft Corporation and we've detected a problem with your computer.'"

Next, Friedman said the man on the other end of the line sent her to a strange website he said would allow them to access her computer.

Through the website, she said he took control of her laptop remotely and started running scans that supposedly showed problems.

"And that I had 72 errors in there that were caused by some viral infections of somebody that had already been in my computer," Friedman said the man told her. "And that they were going to get rid of all of those."

Mark Gibbs, owner of BrainWave PC in Aloha, told FOX 12 he is well aware of the scam, having fixed several computers exposed to it.

"They use scare tactics is really what they do," said Gibbs.

He said the scammers trick people into paying hundreds for repairs they don't need.

"Usually any of the stuff they show you is just things that any computer has," he said. "Just simple errors, things that don't really affect performance of the computer."

In some cases, Gibbs said the scam artists will mess up the computer's files or install viruses if the owner doesn't pay them.

"I'm afraid there will be a lot of other people getting this call," said Friedman.

Luckily she caught on and hung up once the scammer tried to charge her for repairs.

But in the end, she still wound up spending money at a local computer repair shop to get her laptop checked out due to security concerns, since the scammers had access to it.

"I don't want anybody to have to go through this."

Microsoft says you will never receive a legitimate call from one of its representatives or partners charging for computer repairs.

Click here for more information from Microsoft, including tips to spot, report and avoid similar tech support phone scams.

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