Coloradans falling victim to computer hijackers
DENVER – Criminals have found a way to take over your computer and access your personal information, and thousands of people from Colorado and across the country have already become victims.
The hackers are not only able to get bank account and credit card information, they can even watch you from your webcam.
It starts when a person posing as a Microsoft technician contacts you and says you have computer virus. Then, he tries to talk to you into downloading software from ammyy.com so he can supposedly “help you delete the virus.”
Instead, the software allows the scammer to remotely access to your P.C. and everything on it.
Sandy Schmidt of Fort Collins, who received one of the calls, nearly became a victim.
“I was devastated, I was all shook up,” she told us.
When Schmidt received the call, the phony tech told her computer had contracted a virus that was making all of her personal information available to the public.
“He did sound convincing,” she told us.
The tech then directed her to a page showing dozens of yellow and red error messages which he claimed were proof of the virus.
He then instructed Schmidt to delete the contaminated files. But “there wasn’t an option to delete,” Schmidt said.
That’s when the tech told her he was going to have to help her delete the files, but she would first have to download software from ammyy.com.
Schmidt got suspicious and told the phony tech that she needed to verify his information. That ended the call.
Denver-based computer security expert Charles Tendell told us if Schmidt would have downloaded the software, she would have given the scammer total control of her computer.
“As soon as you do that, you open it up,” says Tendell. “You give them access to everything you can imagine on your machine.” That includes passwords, bank account and credit card information.
Tendell say the scammer could even use your webcam to watch you.
“It’s like a digital peeping tom. You imagine the guy hiding in the trees looking in…this guy is hiding out behind his keyboard watching you.”
Microsoft and Ammyy.com, which is a legitimate computer tech support company, are aware of the scam and warn consumers.
“Microsoft doesn’t call their customers to report virus infections,” the company says. “Never run an unknown program for someone unless you are 100-percent sure of their identity.”
If you think you are victim of this scam, you should turn off your computer, disconnect from the internet and take your P.C. to an expert to make sure your data has not been compromised.