If someone is calling you from Microsoft and offering to help you with a Windows problem on your computer, you're likely the target of a scam.
Authorities said in some cases, the caller has you go to a website where you download a remote access service that grants the caller access.
The download effectively gives the scammers complete control to your computer.
"The next thing I know, I can see him taking control of my computer again. He goes in and he changes the I.D. and the password of the computer. And then all of a sudden, I no longer have control of my computer. So he said for $500, I could have my computer back," said Don Hilton, who said that he fell victim of the sacm.
The FBI told 10TV that the department’s name was even being used in a similar scam in which a virus freezes your computer. It claims that the FBI has identified your computer as having been involved in child porn or other illegal activity.
To unlock the computer, it says you have to pay a fine using a prepaid credit card.
"People get afraid when they are fearful they broke the law, and they don't know if they did or didn't a lot of times. So, I think it shows the criminals are a little bit savvy. They know people get afraid when they see that and they don't want to be the subject of a criminal investigation," said FBI Special Agent Corey Collins.
Experts say if malware takes over your computer, don't pay the crooks.
Instead, take your machine to be professionally cleaned.
Make sure your computer has the latest security patches and updates and report the scam to the internet crime complaint center at ic3.gov.
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