News Column

Overseas scammers target Butte to gain access to personal computers

February 15, 2014

By Renata Birkenbuel, The Montana Standard, Butte



Feb. 15--Oversees scammers are targeting Butte residents in a scheme aimed at gaining access to personal computers.

The Montana Office of Consumer Protection says it has received a handful of complaints from Butte and the surrounding area.

Beware of phone calls from 215-220-2321, said Anastasia Burton, deputy communications director for the Montana Department of Justice, which oversees the Office of Consumer Protection in Helena. Beware of the caller ID words "School District," as well.

The scammers may be based in India or the Middle East.

"These scammers are trying to gain access to personal computers, claiming they will load anti-virus software," Burton said. "In reality, the scammers want to install a virus that gives them full access to your machine."

Once the scammers load the virus, they'll gain the ability to control your computer remotely and could watch anything you do, she added. Sometimes they ask for a payment via wire or for credit-card information.

"Anyone who's given access to their computer should shut down the machine, disconnect from their Internet connection and seek a local computer-repair specialist," Burton warned.

Avoid responding to either call. Burton strongly urges consumers to register with her office's Scam Alert at www.doj.mt.gov/ consumer/scam-alerts/ or call the Office of Consumer Protection at 800-481-6896 or 406-444-4500 or email contactocp@mt.gov.

At least 550 consumers have already registered, she said.

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(c)2014 The Montana Standard (Butte, Mont.)

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Source: Montana Standard (Butte)


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