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KY Attorney General warns of tech support phone scam

By Shelley Catharine Johnson
News from the office of KY Attorney General Jack Conway

Attorney General Jack Conway is alerting consumers about a new telemarketing scam that is making its way across Kentucky. General Conway's Office of Consumer Protection has received more than two dozen complaints since mid-November about a "Tech Support" telemarketing scam. Consumers report that the scammers impersonate tech support specialists who claim to have detected a virus on the victims' computer.

"This is just another attempt by scammers to gain access to personal financial information and for the purpose of identity theft," General Conway said. "Never share personal information over the telephone with a stranger."

The "Tech Support" scam generally starts with the caller posing as a technical support engineer certified by a well-known company like Microsoft, Cisco, or Windows. Typically the caller claims that the phone call is in response to reports sent out automatically by the user's computer. The rogue tech support specialists offer to install what they claim are antivirus programs.

To add credibility to their story, the phony tech specialists ask the consumer to follow very specific steps to rid the system of the virus and fix the computer. By following the steps, the consumer gives the caller access to all of the data stored on their computer.

If you receive this type of call, General Conway asks consumers to keep the following in mind:
  • Computer and software companies do not make unsolicited calls offering tech support.

  • If you need tech support, contact the computer or software company at a number you know to be valid.

  • Never provide personal information or follow a caller's instructions when you don't know who is contacting you.
"Always be leery of unsolicited calls," General Conway said. "If a caller claims to be from your bank, your credit card company, Microsoft, or even your utility company, always have them provide a number and call them back. Only use a telephone number that you have looked up yourself. Do not call a number from an unsolicited email."Consumers who have fallen victim to this scam, or a similar one, should follow these steps: 1) Contact your bank or credit card company and dispute the charge for any money you paid. 2) Immediately run anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. 3) Monitor your credit report and place a security freeze on your credit.

This story was posted on 2012-01-07 08:40:45
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