Scam alert from the BBB

Don't trust people who phone and want access to your computer

Vancouver Island residents are being warned to beware of an aggressive new anti-virus scam, says Rosalind Scott, executive director of the Better Business Bureau on Vancouver Island.

The scam, she said, involves residents getting a phone call informing them that their computer was running slow or was infected with a virus.

Scott said the callers claim to be representatives from companies such as Microsoft, Windows, Jars Support or Online PC Care, among many others.

The caller then gets aggressive, demanding that the computer be fixed immediately, over the Internet. This so-called fix involves installation of software or the owner allowing the caller remote access to their personal computer.

The fee for this supposed fix is done with credit cards, with charges ranging from $35 to $469. They are being debited by banks in Germany, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Mauritius, the United States and Iceland.  Scott said the Vancouver branch of the BBB has recently received an influx of calls about the scam from Vancouver Island residents.

“People should think twice when giving out any information — even if the name sounds legitimate,” Scott said. “Scammers often use familiar or well-established names in order to gain trust, which poses a real danger to the public.”

Scott urged Island residents to treat all unsolicited phone calls with scepticism and check with the organization directly that the caller is claiming to be from, using the contact numbers found on their website.

She stressed the importance of not providing any personal information, as many of the scams are an attempt to steal your identity, along with your money. Never, she added, give personal information over the phone and never provide credit or debit card information for payment.

If you think you have been a target, report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.


— News staff