The scams keep coming and they get more clever and involved each time. One of the latest making the rounds in Kimberley is quite convincing, especially to those who use computers but are not entirely sure of them, namely seniors.
Kimberley RCMP are warning about the pop up scam. A pop-up screen advises that the computer being used is infected with a virus and in order to protect the computer, the owner must call a toll free number. Once that number is called, the victim is asked to allow remote access to his/her computer.
The victim is then asked for money via credit card payment or money order/bank draft payable to the “repair company” in order for them to remove the supposed computer virus.T
Two company names have been used so far – Texas Online and Rick Foster, Online PC Help – but there may be others. The individuals answering the toll-free numbers have had strong East Indian accents.
Kimberley RCMP advise that several Kimberley residents have been caught up in the scam.
Faith Matthews is one of them. It cost her over $500 and though a little embarrassed for falling for it, she is sharing her experience to warn anyone else who might be targeted.
“I got caught,” she said. “I was working on my computer and all of a sudden it started talking to me. A voice came over the speakers telling me my computer was compromised, told me not to touch the cursor, they could fix it. I am totally computer illiterate, I believed them, God love them. I sent them a bank draft for $529 US.”
Matthews realized soon after she sent the money that she had been scammed. She went to the local RCMP, whom she says were very helpful and nice and put her in touch with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Talking to the Anti-Fraud Centre, Matthews learned that she could have Canada Post trace the envelope and perhaps stop it at the border.
“God love Canada Post, they were really on the ball, but I missed it by half an hour,” Matthews said.
A few days later, she says a friend called and said her computer was talking to her.
“I told her to unplug it.”
She also heard that another acquaintance of hers had the same thing happen.
Matthews says she got herself quite upset over the whole thing. “It was so real,” she said.
Police advise that if you suspect your computer to have been infected with a virus or hacked into, switch off your computer immediately and take it to a trusted professional to have it looked at.
This is also the time of year to be especially wary of the Canada Revenue scam, where someone purporting to be from the Canada Revenue Agency tells you you either owe money or are due a refund. Remember, the CRA will always contact your through registered mail. Don’t give out any personal information to anyone who calls you on the phone.
If you have been a victim of this type of crime, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. For more information, visit rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/index-eng.htm