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ABC40 Alert: “Microsoft Scam”

Computer-VirusWEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — Jennifer Brathwaite was cooking dinner one night when the phone rang.  It was a familiar New York number that had called her a number of times before.  This time, she decided to answer.

“This person said they were from Microsoft Windows and that some sort of message came across their screen saying that my computer had a virus and that it was about to crash,” said Brathwaite.

Brathwaite was skeptical from the start, but when the man on the other line started listing off her personal information and even information on her computer, she began to believe he was the real deal, but the longer she stayed on the phone with him and did as he said, the worse the situation got.

“My computer started lighting up with red,” said Brathwaite.  “It started to blink and crash.  I panicked.  I shut the computer off.  I pulled all the wires out.”

She hung up the phone, but the man called back, this time on her cell phone.

When she went to start her computer back up, there was a block that required a password and the caller said the only way she’d get that password is if she paid him money.  Brathwaite was positive at that point that it was indeed a scam, but it was too late.  The damage had been done.

Stan Prager, owner of Go Geeks Computer Rescue in East Longmeadow, says this scam takes many forms, not just Microsoft.

“It’s just a random phone call,” said Prager.  “They really can’t see your computer.  They don’t know anything about it.”

In fact, your computer is just fine, unless you do what they say.  In Brathwaite’s case, that meant putting in codes that ultimately infected her computer.

“It’s what we call rocking the waves,” said Prager.  “What they basically do is remote into the woman’s computer telling her that there’s a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Brathwaite has learned her lesson.  She never paid the caller anything, but she is out the money she had to pay to get the computer fixed by a legitimate repair company.


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