With much of our personal information stored online these days, a computer virus can be really bad news. Scammers know this too, and it's the leverage some are using to take advantage of the uninformed.
Lionel Bollinger says he's just about ready to get rid of his phone line. All because of someone repeatedly calling from an unknown number.
"The guy calls claiming to be from Windows and [says] my computer is all infected and this and that and they want access to the computer, and it's like ‘I am not letting you into my computer,'" Bollinger said.
It's a common scam that's again targeting locals. A person claiming to be from Microsoft or Windows says your computer has a virus, and that you need to give them permission to go in remotely and fix it.
"He was getting very pushy and he was saying I'm going to keep calling you because your computer is messing up, and it's like yeah right," Bollinger said.
Luckily Bollinger knew better, but many people don't.
"One of the ladies who called me, she was in tears and she said, ‘I think I've just ruined my computer,'" said computer expert Josh Henderson.
Henderson runs a consulting firm and fixes PCs for a living. He says a couple of his clients granted the scammers access.
"They actually infect the computer with a virus, and then they tell them for a small fee – somewhere between $130 and $200 is what I've heard – they'll clean the computer up," he said.
Instead they take your money and run, leaving your computer incapacitated and your files inaccessible. Henderson says it's an easy fix, but he doesn't work for free, so save yourself the hassle and the money.
"Tell them ‘Give me a good call-back number and let me call you back.' Hang up and then go look up the actual number of the company they say they're with, then call them and that way you can verify if it's a scam," Henderson said.
If you've been a victim of a scam, file a complaint with the Attorney General's office. Call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-351-4889 or click here.