If someone calls you claiming to be from the company Microsoft, you might become the victim of a scam.
Computer experts say Microsoft employees won't call you out of the blue unless you have requested their service.
Timothy Boyd, 58, of Hamlet received such a call at 9 a.m. one day last week, he said.
"(The caller) had a foreign accent," said Boyd. "They said they had problems with certain computers and were calling to fix the issue."
Boyd proceeded to enter into the conversation because he said the caller sounded legitimate.
"So I said, 'what do I need to do?'" Boyd asked the caller, who proceeded to guide him to a website where the screen listed logos for Time Warner Cable and other Internet providers, he said.
"I hit two buttons and he got in and I realized then he was controlling my mouse," said Boyd. "He asked me some more things, nothing personal. It all sounded realistic."
Boyd said the caller told him he had begun a process to clean up his computer but since it had already started, he would need Boyd to make a payment of $295. That's when Boyd said he became suspicious. Boyd put the caller on hold and called Computer Zone in Rockingham, who urged him to cut the caller off.
"No legitimate company is going to call you out of the blue," said Lead Technician Bob Nelson of Computer Zone, located at 613 Long Dr., Rockingham.
Nelson explained that a scamming company such as this will find a way to gain access to your computer remotely under the guise of wanting to clean it of viruses but while actually looking for your personal information like your credit card number to steal.
"If they get access to your computer remotely all your personal information could be exposed," said Nelson, who said this type of scam is not that common in the area. "We don't hear a lot of it but it does happen from time to time."
Nelson said callers like this target seniors in their scams, often by calling to see who will answer.
Boyd was unable to use his computer after the incident and took it to Computer Zone to have them check it out.
"We analyzed the computer to verify that no programs had been installed to allow remote access," said Nelson. "We clean up viruses and malware and make sure you have the proper software to protect the computer."
Officials say one sure way to avoid becoming the victim of a scam is to not give out personal information that could put you at risk.
-- Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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