WISCONSIN (WKOW)-- An old computer scam has re-emerged in Southern Wisconsin. For several years scammers have called computer owners claiming to work for the Microsoft software company. These individuals tell users that they need to gain access to their computer in order to fix something in the user's system.
On Monday, the scam popped up again in Janesville after a woman and her daughters received a concerning phone call.
"They said they were software technicians," Roxanna Barone says. "My daughter took the call and was concerned because they said our computer was broken. I knew immediately something wasn't right."
Barone knows a thing or two about computer scams. She works part-time as computer instructor at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville. After receiving the phone call she decided to contact WKOW 27 News to get the word out.
"All I could think of was all these people out there that are going to fall victim to this and potentially lose their life savings," Barone says.
The way the scam works is the caller asks to gain access to a person's computer in order to fix it. This can be achieved by either giving them your IP-address or by downloading a program they have set up on the internet. Once this program is downloaded the caller gains access to your computer and can start looking into your files.
"For the most part, not a lot of people know the guts of a computer or how a computer works. What is safe and what's not safe. Especially what's credible and what's not credible," Barone says.
During her interview with WKOW 27 News Wednesday afternoon, Barone was contacted once again by the fake computer technicians. The caller, once again, asked to gain access to her computer, claiming that her software was broken. Through this call 27 News was able to track down the phone number to confront these callers
When probed about the group's questionable activity, the call-taker told 27 News to send his company "Best Help" an e-mail. The call-taker said his employer was based out of San Diego and had an easy to find website on the internet. After conducting a web search, 27 News wasn't able to find a company called "Best Help" in San Diego California.
During the conversation, 27 News asked the call-taker if a supervisor or media representative was available to answer a few questions. The call-taker said no one was available and that the company didn't have e-mail addresses for us to send out messages. He continued to direct 27 News to a website that, according to a web search, doesn't exist.
During the conversation, 27 News could hear several people in the background holding additional conversations. The call-taker spoke with an accent that made it difficult to understand him. 27 News questioned the call-taker further, but at that time he became irritable and hung up the phone.
According to the Better Business Bureau, no company called "Best Help" shows up in their business database. Officials ran a search of the phone number 27 News used to contact these individuals and several complaints started showing up.
The Better Business Bureau says this computer technician scam first showed up around 2008. Officials say it's starting to make a comeback nationwide and has been reported several times here in Wisconsin. Officials are warning anyone who receives this call to hang up and report it immediately.
For more information on recent scams that the Better Business Bureau is starting to see in Wisconsin, click here.
Microsoft is also aware of the scam. Representatives say they will only call in rare cases and will contact you through your internet service provider. To read Microsoft's warning to customers, click here.
WISCONSIN (WKOW)-- An old computer scam has re-emerged in Southern Wisconsin. For several years scammers have called computer owners claiming to work for Microsoft Software. These individuals tell users that they need to gain access to the computer in order to fix something in the user's system.
The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to consumers that reports of scams have popped in across the Midwest including Wisconsin. Officials say users should hang up and report any such phone calls from potential scammers. They're warning users that giving away access to your computer system makes you vulnerable to identity theft as scammers can access all of your private financial information through your computer.
Tonight on WKOW 27 News at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Gordon Severson explains how the scam works and what you can do to protect yourself.
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