Beware of fake Microsoft `tech support` phone scam - FOX 32 News Chicago

Beware of fake Microsoft `tech support` phone scam

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

They are phone calls filled with promises of unexpected winnings, or desperate situations that require immediate action. But, there's always a catch and it could cost you big money.

Now, there's a warning about scam artists on the hunt for new victims and a woman who beat the bad guys.

Twice in the last few weeks Elizabeth Kimminau has been targeted by scam artists claiming to be working on behalf of Microsoft. The second call she recorded.

"He said, do you have a computer on, and I said, yes, and he says, you've been shooting errors all day, we need to address that immediately," Kimminau recalls.

Kimminau believes the man was trying to gain control of her computer. The Federal Trade Commission says that's a common scam that could give the con artists access to all kinds of personal information including bank accounts.

"Microsoft and Dell and companies like that do not call people out of the blue and tell them that they have a bunch of spyware on their computers, doesn't work that way," FTC Midwest Division Director Steve Baker explains.

Another common scam involves telling people they've won money. The catch? The person first has to pay taxes on their winnings.

The FTC says in the last six months alone, scams like that have cost Americans $64 million. The elderly are frequently targeted in another fraud called the grandparent scheme.

"Where somebody gets a call saying ‘Hey, grandma this is your favorite grandson.' She says: ‘Nick?' He says ‘yea, don't tell mom and dad but I went to Mexico on spring break, and I got in a car wreck and I'm in jail, and I need some money,'" Baker tells FOX 32.

One big warning sign of a scam:

"If they want money through Western Union, Moneygram or through one of these Green Dot cards, I can about guarantee it's a fraud," says Baker.

During Kimminau's call she sensed fraud right away, and confronted the man after he asked her to click certain computer keys.

For more information on phone scams: Federal Trade Commission website

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