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Computer Repair Phone Scam Reported

 

phonescam1Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today warned Commonwealth residents of a recent computer repair telephone scam.

The scam, first reported in Fayette Co., starts with a call from a person with a heavy accent who claims the recipient of the call is in need of a computer update or repair. The caller instructs the person to wire money to pay for the work, but no update or repair work is actually needed. In one reported case, a senior citizen who did not even own a computer was a target of this scam.

The caller in some cases has stated he is calling from Los Angeles, according to information reported to the Office of Attorney General. Some of these scam calls also have reportedly originated from a phone with a 509 area code — which traces to the state of Washington — but it is possible the scammers are using the practice of "caller ID spoofing."

According to the AG’s office, this allows callers to deliberately falsify the telephone number and/or name relayed on a person's caller ID. In some cases, these calls may actually originate from out of the country.

Attorney General Kane offered the following tips to help prevent consumers from becoming victims of telephone scams:

  1. Never give out personal information over the telephone.
  2. Never give out billing information over the phone, especially if you receive an unsolicited telephone call from a stranger.
  3. Never wire money or purchase green dot-type prepaid cash cards in response to a telephone appeal, whether it is from a stranger or someone who claims to know you.
  4. Never let emotion or fear overcome your common sense. If you get a call for money from a friend or relative, slow down and verify everything. Don't let anyone rush you.
  5. Never give out sensitive information to anyone on the phone unless you initiated the call to a company you are certain is legitimate.
  6. Never forget that you are in control. You can always hang up, find a company's number and call it directly.

Consumers may file a complaint regarding the computer repair scam or other phone scams by calling the Office of Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection's toll-free helpline number at 1-800-441-2555.