Woman warns against computer scam after nearly falling victim

Published On: Mar 14 2014 12:25:45 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 14 2014 05:12:31 PM CDT

A Sedgwick County woman is coming forward after nearly falling victim to a newer computer scam going around the area. She's helping county officials get the word out so no one else is fooled by the same scammers.

"This fella with a very heavy accent said he was from Microsoft and that I had a problem with my computer," the woman, who didn't want to reveal her name, told reporters for Eyewitness News.

The same scam is circulating through the area. Scammers posing as computer company representatives, like Microsoft, try to gain personal information by accessing resident's computers remotely. The woman we spoke with said everything was done over the phone, but the man did log on to her computer remotely.

"He put something on my screen that made me thing that he was really legitimate," she said.

Officials with the Consumer Fraud Division report receiving about 13 calls of a similar nature just since this January.

"Ultimately, they will ask for the consumer's financial information," explained Sharon Werner, Chief Attorney of the Consumer Fraud Division.

In this case, the scammer didn't directly ask for this woman's credit card number and she says she wouldn't have given it to him anyway. But, she did give him her zip code and remote access to her computer, which may have been just enough. A few days later, she got a call from her bank letting her know they stopped a few false charges made by her account, in Minnesota. Because it was caught soon enough, she wasn't charged and she cancelled her card.

This time, she just said she's thankful the bank caught it even when she didn't.

"I guess I really believed him until I got off the phone," she said.

No matter how legitimate the caller sounds, Werner said the best rule of thumb if someone is asking you for personal information is if you didn't initiate the call - don't give it out, even if it's just your zip code.