Local fooled by PC security scammers | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Local fooled by PC security scammers

    A local woman spent “four days in hell” after a scammer posing as a Microsoft employee gained access to her credit card information and home computer.     The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has said they’ve received 3,200 complaints over the scam, where the solicited caller says they work for a software company, in this case Microsoft.
    Coral Bickford received the call last Thursday morning from a person supposedly from Microsoft who led her to believe they’d found viruses on her computer.
    They knew her name and knew she had a Windows Vista computer at home.
    “They said, ‘We’ve learned your computer is full of viruses and it’s very bad’,” says Bickford.
    “They were so persistent, I had grandbabies here and they kept saying they’d wait on the line.”
    Bickford was convinced to allow the caller remote access to her computer, and after an hour and a half into the conversation she agreed to give them her credit card information. When she gave them her postal code, it did not work for the caller for whatever reason.
    “They got kind of upset with me, and asked if I could use somebody else’s MasterCard... But nothing would work for them, thank god.”
    She finally had enough of the caller and hung up, but the scammers still had remote access into her computer for about three hours afterwards.
    Family visited Bickford later that day and they told her she had been scammed.
    Taking place on Thursday, the Canada Day holiday meant the banks were closed until Monday of last week.
    “I went through four days of dread, I couldn’t sleep. I thought they had everything,” says Bickford. “I was pretty scared.”
    So far she has not heard of any charges to her account, but cancelled everything just in case.
    The scam calls have been reported by a number of people in the valley, with Bickford’s sister having received the call Tuesday and Magtech Computer Services warning its customers on Wednesday.
    “I am so lucky, thank god my MasterCard didn’t work or you would never know what could have happened.”
    Bickford hopes no one else has to go through what she did.
    “They got me. We could’ve lost everything.”
    Microsoft warned PC users of the scam last month, saying about 3 per cent of Microsoft users surveyed ended up following the scammers instructions. Of the large majority of people who were deceived, 79 per cent lost money as a result of the scam.
    Microsoft provided a few tips to help prevent someone from being scammed: be suspicious of unsolicited calls related to a security problem, never give out your personal information to such callers, don’t visit any websites or install any software or follow instructions from someone who calls out of the blue, and use strong passwords and change them regularly.

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