The caller will sometimes identify the person by name and claim to be from
In some cases, the caller tries to prove the concern is legitimate by having the computer owner run a command that will display the computer "identification number." The caller then reads the same number to the computer owner.
It's a bit of geek trickery, though. The number that is displayed is the same on most Windows computers.
But it's a ploy to gain trust, which can leave computer owners willing to follow the caller's instructions.
One of the people contacted told police she doesn't even own a computer.
According to the
"The caller may ask for remote access to your computer and then change settings in a way that makes your computer or the information on it vulnerable; enroll you in an expensive but worthless computer security, maintenance or warranty program; trick you into installing software that then snags your private information, like passwords or financial details; or ask for your credit card information and steal it or use it to bill you for fake services or services that are readily available for free," according to
Most often, callers direct people to a website that would allow the scammers to access the computer remotely, according to FTC consumer education specialist
"The scammers offer to rid the computer of malware for fees ranging from
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