Norfolk County resident loses $1,800 to Microsoft scam

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(NORFOLK COUNTY, ON) – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Norfolk County detachment is once again reminding all residents about the Microsoft Scam after police investigated an incident at a 2nd Concession Road, North Walsingham, Norfolk County, Ontario address.

On Friday, December 8, 2017 at approximately 3:18 p.m., police received a call from a concerned resident reporting a fraud.

Through the course of investigation, it was determined that an unknown male contacted a resident and advised them their computer was infected with a virus and needed remote access in order to fix the problem. The owner allowed the male access to all personal and financial accounts.

A request was then made to pay for the service provided over the phone in iTunes gift cards. As a result, the apple gift cards were purchased at which time the identification numbers on the back of the cards were provided to the unknown male resulting in the victim losing $1,800 dollars.

This is a SCAM and the OPP want to remind all residents to simply hang up the phone if you receive this type of call.

This particular scam will start out with the residence receiving a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from Windows or Microsoft and that they have detected a virus on your computer.

To confirm the diagnosis, the caller asks you to open Windows Event Viewer on your machine to check if it is infected. Several error messages are listed and this reinforces their claims, even though errors are common and usually harmless. The caller tells you that these are of significant concern and offers to refer you to a ‘technician’ who could fix the problem-for a fee and will require remote access to your computer.

At this point, you’re offered a number of solutions that seem to make perfect sense. Depending on the intent of the particular scammer involved, the ‘technician’ might:

·      Install an antivirus program on your computer-typically the kind that you can download for free from reputable companies-and charge up to $250 for the service.

·      Ask for your credit card details but install nothing. Your details might then be sold to other parties or used for fraudulent purposes.

·      Install malware on your computer-this enables your computer to be controlled remotely for other illegal and harmful activities.

·      Access and steal personal and financial details from your computer.

Follow-up scam

Scammers have also been known to make follow-up calls to people who initially fell victim to the scam. In these calls the scammer falsely claims to be from a foreign government, foreign law enforcement body, or from your bank, and offers to recover the money that you initially lost- in return for a fee.

*     PROTECT YOURSELF

·      Don’t accept anything at face value-if it sounds unlikely or too good to be true, it probably is.

·      Recognize the signs-if you’re being pressured to act, disclose personal details or send money to a stranger, it’s almost certainly a scam. For example, Microsoft never makes unsolicited phone calls about its products.

·      Act quickly-contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 and stop scammers in their tracks.

·      Never respond. Just simply hang up the phone and report this incident to the OPP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

As you can see, if you follow their instructions, they can easily trick a non-technical victim into believing that their computer really is infected and allow “Microsoft” into their computer remotely to fix it.

“Remote service is perfectly fine and safe, but only when you instigate the call for help. Don’t be a victim. Fraud is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that will only stop when the scammers stop getting money, banking information or personal information.” – states Constable Ed Sanchuk, Norfolk County OPP.

If any groups or businesses in Norfolk County would like to have a presentation completed regarding Scams and Frauds / Identity Theft prevention, please contact Provincial Constable Ed Sanchuk at the Norfolk County Detachment at 519-426-3434.