Microsoft tech support phone scam hits DC area - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Microsoft tech support phone scam hits DC area

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There is a warning from computer security firms about a Microsoft tech support phone scam.

It has been happening in other parts of the country for a year or so, but now it is hitting the D.C. area.

Linda Harper, the owner of Linda's Towing and Transport in Accokeek, Md., had been having computer trouble for weeks, so when a guy claiming to be a computer technician called and offered to get rid of her virus, she took him up on it.

"I got a call from a guy claiming to be from Microsoft,” Harper says. “He said a malicious virus was detected on my computer and it was going to crash within 45 minutes.”

Harper thought the call was legitimate and gave the caller -- and a woman he claimed was his supervisor -- remote access to her computer.

And then she noticed they had tapped into her bank account.

“It was over $2,000 deducted from my account," says Harper.

With the bogus technician on her house phone, Harper calls her bank with her cell phone. And they watch together as the scammers do their dirty work.

Harper says, "We were literally sitting there watching them as they took everything that I had."

And then it got worse. Her computer was wiped clean too.

"I was working on a book and that may now be lost,” she says. “I started a greeting card company and had over 300 cards on there that may be gone. And then of course, all my towing business stuff was on there too.”

So she called police. Detectives told her there have been several similar reports of computer tech scams in the area recently.

A spokesperson for Microsoft says the company is aware of the scam. And in fact, they have an entire web page dedicated to helping consumers avoid being victims.

Harper has some advice too.

“If you get a call, don't accept the call. Hang up and call Microsoft directly," Harper says.

Harper's bank says she will get the money back that was fraudulently taken from her account. But it could take four or five days.

Prince George's County police and bank officials are trying to track down the scammers.

It could be tough however. Most of these operations originate out of the country.

Online:

http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx


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