Consumers Warned Of Phone Scam Targeting Computers

Posted: July 9, 2013

HARRISONBURG — The Better Business Bureau of Western Virginia is warning Valley residents of a phone scam where callers tell potential victims their computer is under attack and needs to be fixed immediately.

The calls, which numerous Valley consumers have reported getting, goes something like this, according to the BBB:

“Hello. This is the IC3 calling on behalf of the FBI. Your computer has been attacked by hackers,” the caller says. “Please allow me to show you how to protect yourself from these attacks. Please hurry, we need to fix this right now.”

The IC3 — Internet Crime Complaint Center — is a real entity, having been formed in 2000 as a partnership between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. It serves as a kind of clearinghouse for Internet crime complaints.

The callers involved in the scam, though, are of course not from the IC3, FBI or any other legitimate organization.
The “heavily accented” callers are likely dialing from overseas, the BBB says. Once on the line, they claim to have detected a “security breach” inside the victim’s computer and ask them for remote access to the device. They say they will repair it and show owners the improvements they’ve made.

In reality, the callers are the ones attacking the computer. Remote access grants the scammers the ability to install malicious software that can capture sensitive information such as passwords, user names and online banking information.

Consumers who get the calls should hang up and call local police or the BBB, the bureau advises. To reach the BBB, click here or call 540-342-3455 or 1-800-533-5501.