February 27, 2014

Public warned about computer scam

NEW YORK — New Yorkers are being warned that scam artists are posing as representatives of Microsoft or an affiliated organization, such as P.C. Solutions.

In some cases, the callers will even spoof the telephone’s Caller ID to identify the source as “Windows Support,” according to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office, which has received numerous complaints.

The scam artists attempt to gain remote access to consumers’ computers by claiming that their units are running slowly because they are infected with malware or viruses or need additional software, which they offer to remedy.

After gaining access, scammers are able to extract a fee — as much as $300 — by obtaining credit-card information over the phone or by directing consumers to enter PayPal, bank or credit-card information on a website the scammers control.

“Consumer fraudsters come in all shapes and sizes, from false advertisers and illegal pet sellers, to identity thieves and predatory lenders. Unfortunately, we can now add scammers posing as computer experts to that list,” Schneiderman said in a release.

“There are simple, easy steps New Yorkers can take to identify these calls and avoid becoming victims of this increasingly prevalent scam.”

If you get such a call:

• Hang up the phone.

• Do not give out your password. No legitimate organization will ever request this information.

•* Do not provide any billing information.

If you already allowed someone access to your computer:

• Change your computer and email passwords.

• Update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete any files that are identified as problematic. Some service providers offer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.

• If you were charged for “services,” dispute the charges with your credit-card company.

• If you gave out your billing information, you might want to consider closing your account.

• File a complaint with the New York State Attorney General’s Office. You can obtain a complaint form by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline (800) 771-7755 or visiting the website

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