Computer tech support scams target Brtiish Columbians

A new technology scam reaches out to take your money and run

  • Mar. 14, 2012 10:00 a.m.

Protect yourself, your money and your identity

For several months, phone scammers have been targeting British Columbians by pretending to be with a reputable computer software company, asking to perform urgent software updates and requesting hundreds of dollars as a fee for their service.

In response to this and other frauds, the province and Consumer Protection BC are teaming up during Fraud Prevention Month to provide tips to help British Columbians fraud-proof themselves.

Fraud Prevention Month is a national initiative with the goal of fighting fraud aimed at businesses and consumers. This phone scam is a prevalent one. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says it currently accounts for 70 per cent of all fraud complaints in Canada.

 

The phone scam works like this:

Tom, a B.C. resident, receives a phone call at dinner time. The caller explains he is from ‘Microsoft Tech Support’. He asks Tom whether his computer is running slowly and encourages him to download software right away to fix his computer. Tom has found that his system has been sluggish lately so he follows the caller’s instructions and bills the new ‘software’ to his credit card.

The total bill is in the hundreds of dollars.

Unfortunately, Tom has been scammed and has installed spyware, or malware, on his computer. The corrupt program can potentially monitor what he is typing on his computer, including personal information like banking details and passwords.

 

Here are some tips to protect you and your family from becoming a victim of this ‘virus-fixing’ scheme:

 

• If you receive one of these unsolicited phone calls, hang up and do not download anything onto your computer.

• Do your research and ask questions around all unsolicited phone calls.

• Get the name, phone number and website address of any company that calls you. Check to see if it is a legitimate company or if a real company’s name is being used as part of a scam. The Internet has a great deal of useful information on scam avoidance.

 

• Do not provide any personal information, especially your credit card number.

• To stay informed about possible scams and to warn others: Visit Consumer Protection BC on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionBC. Report any fraudulent activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1 888 495-8501.

 

• Know your rights! If you have questions about your rights and  responsibilities as a B.C. consumer, please contact Consumer Protection BC, toll-free at 1 888 564-9963 or online at: www.consumerprotectionbc.ca

There are many scams out there and you should know that if a deal seems too good to be true — it is. Also do not give out any personal information over the phone or on-line. No legitimate bank, for instance, will ask for PIN numbers or personal information.

Just Posted

Final key components for Johnson Street Bridge installed this weekend in Victoria

Dynamic Beast crane barge arrives back in town on Friday

Metchosin supports moving to three-year municipal term

Some councillors say four years is too much of a commitment

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

WHL winning streak ends at four in Kelowna for Victoria

Royals lose 8-4 as Rockets explode offensively

Most Read