Neb. AG issues consumer warning about tech support scams

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 25, 2013

LINCOLN, Neb. (Legal Newsline) -- Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning issued a consumer alert Wednesday, warning state residents to be aware of scams related to consumer technical support.

Bruning's Mediation Center received more than 10 reports this week related to scam phone calls from people falsely claiming to be Microsoft representatives to gain access to sensitive personal information stored on the computers of victims.

"Tech support scammers pose as legitimate business representatives to turn the victims' desire for security against them," Bruning said in a statement. "You can't know who is on the other end of unsolicited phone calls, regardless of what they claim.

"Nebraskans should never provide access to personal or business computers to people they don't know."

The scammers pretend to represent Microsoft or another legitimate support group like Norton, McAfee or Dell, and claim that there has been an imminent security threat detected with the consumer's computer.

The callers may direct consumers to utility areas of the computers like the system log to show how the computer is infected. At that time, the scammers request the consumer to verify personal information so the caller can help to fix the issue.

The callers may offer software for download to fix the problem by routing the consumers to dummy websites that let the scammers remotely access their computers.

After the scammer gains access to the consumer's computer, they can install fraudulent software or request bank account information to charge for installing the fake security upgrades.

The scammers then can use personal information gained during the transaction to make fraudulent charges to the victims' accounts or to perpetrate identity theft.

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