TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

August 31, 2012

BBB warns residents of phone scam

CORBIN — By Becky Killian, Managing Editor

Area residents are being cautioned about a telephone scam in which callers who sometimes claim to be from Microsoft try to gain access to personal computers.

The scammers typically say they have detected viruses on the computers and ask for access, according to Heather Clary, director of communications for the Better Business Bureau in Lexington.

In addition to providing the scammer access to their personal computers, those who fall for the scam are also sometimes asked to provide their credit card information.

“Many people recognize it as sounding fishy and don’t do it,” Clary said. “Others have done it and actually ended  up with having more viruses placed on their computers.” Clary added that the scammers can also access personal information the victims have stored on their computers.

Reports of the scam have been made for several months across the 64-county service area in central and eastern Kentucky that Clary’s office serves. The same scam has been ongoing in other parts of the country — prompting Microsoft to post a warning about it on their website, Clary said.

Because the scam usually originates outside of the U.S., Clary said the scammers are beyond the reach of U.S. authorities as well as outside the area where the BBB can process a complaint.

The BBB has issued warnings about the scam in the past but it persists, Clary said.

“People should always be wary of unknown callers suddenly contacting them with warnings trying to frighten the consumer into action,” Clary said.

Consumers who receive scam calls are urged not to share personal information — instead note the number from which the call originated and ask for the caller’s name and the company’s name. These can be reported to the Better Business Bureau at 800-866-6668. Those on the federal “Do Not Call” list can report it to www.donotcall.gov.

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