7On your side: Tech support scam targets local consumers - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7On your side: Tech support scam targets local consumers

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Pam Mercer became suspicious immediately when the caller  told her:

"This is technical support. And I said, 'Okay.' and he said, 'Recently, we've noticed there have been some issues with your computer. And I was kind of thinking, okay how do you know this?"

And then he wanted her to  go turn on her computer.

"I said well sir, you need to give me a company name or a telephone number or something like that.  And he said, 'Oh, well mam, we just need you to go to your computer, open it up and we'll walk you through it.  It's just real easy to take care of the issue.'"

Carmen Million with the Southwest Louisiana Better Business Bureau says what they're really after is to gain remote access to your computer and you don't want to let that happen.

"They'll even go so far as to say they're with Microsoft, tell them they have a problem with their computer, and they just need to press a few buttons, it's not a big issue. Before the consumer knows it they're actually logged into their computer and they release a virus and then the consumer will tell us, 'All of a sudden our computer quit working.  What do we do now?' And of course they have to take it to a local company to try to get it cleaned out,"said Million.

Mercer's mother and daughter received similar calls. Attempts to return a call to the number on her daughter's phone indicate the number is no good.

"Some of these criminals do it for the fun or the challenge of how many people they've victimized.  Unfortunately there are people who have that mindset.    And of course the second thing is they will also try to get any personal financial data on your computer once they have access.  They may even ask you for a credit card number or bank account number so that they can charge you to make the repairs to your computer,"said Million.

Mercer says, though the caller was persistent, she didn't fall for the scam.

"He said, 'Mam, we're technical support.' And I said, 'Yes sir, you've told me that. And I said, 'There again, if you'd like to leave a name and a number and if I need your help and the Better Business Bureau says you're legit, then I'll call you back.  About that time he clicked and hung up," said Mercer.

Though such scammers are rarely brought to justice, you can file a complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center-- an alliance between the National White Collar Crime Center and the FBI.

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