NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warned New Yorkers on Tuesday of a scam involving individuals posting as representatives of Microsoft who are trying to gain access to consumer computers.

As part of the scam, individuals posing as representatives of Microsoft or an organization affiliated with Microsoft attempt to gain access to consumers' computers by claiming their units are infected with malware or viruses. The scam artists offer to remedy the issue and give the consumer instructions that let them gain access to the computer remotely.

The scammers say the consumer must pay a fee of as much as $300 for the service. If consumers balk at making the payment, scam artists may start deleting files off the computer, disabling the device or stealing sensitive personal information.

"Consumer fraudsters come in all shapes and sizes, from false advertisers and illegal pet sellers, to identity thieves and predatory lenders," Schneiderman said. "Unfortunately, we can now add scammers posing as computer experts to that list. There are simple, easy steps New Yorkers can take to identify these calls and avoid becoming victims of this increasingly prevalent scam."

Scammers may also adjust security settings on the computer to leave the devices vulnerable or install software that may harm computers or let the scammers continue to access the devices remotely.

Schneiderman's office said the perpetrators seem to be operating from overseas and may speak with heavy foreign accents.

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