Cape Gazette
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Delaware consumers alerted to pair of phone scams

Sep 09, 2013

Attorney General Beau Biden’s office alerted Delawareans about a pair of scams - one involving phony computer repair calls and the other involving fake consumer debit card problems.

In the first scam, victims receive unsolicited phone calls or emails that claim to be from a customer service, help desk representative or technician from Microsoft or other well-known technology companies.  During those communications the scammer claims that the consumer’s computer is infected with a virus and offers to help by gaining remote access to their machine in order to analyze and upgrade the computer’s security software.

However, scammers who are successful in duping the computer’s owner into believing the ruse instead use the remote access to install malicious software that harvests personal data, adjust the computer’s security settings to make the machine vulnerable to threats, and direct the victim to fraudulent Web sites that try to obtain personal credit card information.  Moreover, consumers have reported that the scammers ask for credit card information so they can bill for the fraudulent services.

Biden’s Consumer Protection Unit has received multiple reports of this scam, which has also targeted consumers nationwide.  Any consumers who believe they have already been victimized by this scam are urged to change their passwords for online accounts including email, online banking and credit cards.  Suspected victims should be sure to run a security scan program on their computers and consider installing new security software.

Biden’s office also warned Delawareans about another scam being reported in other states in the region. In this scam, consumers receive unsolicited calls or text messages warning them of a problem with their bank’s debit cards.  In reality, these are attempts to trick consumers into providing personal financial information to criminals.

The unsolicited calls and texts report that the consumer’s debit card is locked and direct them to call a certain phone number to unlock the card. When victims call the phone number as directed, the scammer obtains their account information in order to “unlock” their cards.

Consumers should ignore these messages. Delawareans who think they have already fallen victim to the debit card scam should immediately contact their financial institution.

Delawareans who receive unsolicited phone calls, emails, or other messages that they believe may be a scam should report those communications to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-220-5424 or emailing consumer.protection@state.de.us.

 

 

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