Computer repair scams

WELLINGTON CTY. – Some people posing as workers from Microsoft or other internet providers are attempting to trick people into handing over access to their computers and personal information.

OPP Constable Mark Cloes is asking if anyone has ever received a phone call warning of a virus on a computer.

He said the County of Wellington OPP has received calls locally that scammers phone their potential victims and claim that a problem, such as a serious virus infection, has been detected on their computer. The caller will instruct the home owner to immediately follow the caller’s instructions in order to fix the problem.

Cloes said the OPP is warning that those who comply with the scam caller’s instructions will in fact be giving criminals access to their computer – and any personal files stored on it.

He said the calls are a scam operation that has been targeting residents across North America for several months. Callers attempt to trick those they call into going to their computers and opening a website, ostensibly as part of the procedure for fixing the supposed virus. However, once on the website, the computer owner will be tricked into downloading and installing trojans and other malware that can allow criminals access to the compromised computer and harvest personal and financial information.

The victim may also be tricked into parting with credit card details, in order to purchase software supposedly needed to “fix” the computer problem.

Cloes said county police remind computer owners to exercise caution when dealing with anyone over the phone. He suggested people deal only with companies known personally and, when in doubt, check with the local business bureau for references.