THORNTON, Colo (CBS4)– When Gina Wallis’ computer was running slow, she thought there might be a problem. When a screen popped up indicating an error, she clicked “send error report”. About a week later, Wallis got a call from someone saying they were with Microsoft Windows.
“I let him remote access my computer, but when the screen came up it said ‘LogMeIn Rescue’. It didn’t say ‘Microsoft Windows’,” Wallis told CBS4.
LogMeIn Rescue is a legitimate program, but in this case hackers were using it to make a copy of Wallis’ hard drive.
“He was stealing from me with me sitting right there,” Wallis said.
The hackers had access to passwords, account information, and contacts. Wallis was watching as a green bar indicated files were being downloaded. She panicked, turned off her computer, and unplugged her router.
“As far as you know, at this point, nothing has been compromised?” 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks asked Wallis.
“Well, we locked it down within 5 minutes of the phone call,” Wallis replied.
Wallis contacted her bank and put a hold on all her transactions. She notified the credit reporting agencies. She filed reports with the FBI, the CBI, and the Town of Frederick Police Department.
When 4 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks tried to call the number that called Wallis, she got a busy signal. Brooks found hundreds of people online complaining about the same scam. A caller says he ‘works for windows’, claims your computer is sending out ‘malicious viruses’, and asks you to log on right then.
Steve Utke with Surge Computers of Highlands Ranch says there are a few things you can do to protect your computer.
“Virus and spyware checking with malware bites or an anti-virus program such as F-Secure.”
This is the kind of scam that fraud investigators are expecting to see more of during tax season. Many Americans are likely to have their tax information on their computers, so hackers are itching to get access.
The Internal Revenue Service came out with their “Dirty Dozen” ranking of tax scams. They urge tax payers to protect themselves from scammers trying to get their hands on money using one of these methods:
–Return Preparer Fraud
–Hiding Income Offshore
–‘Free Money’ from the IRS
–False/Inflated Income and Expenses
–False Form 1099 Refund Claims
–Falsely Claiming Zero Wages
–Abuse of Charitable Organizations
–Disguised Corporate Ownership
–Misuse of Trusts
Wallis is working to make her computer safe again. And she wants to make sure that no one else falls for this scam.
“I’m not an idiot and if I would fall for this, I think anybody could fall for it,” she said.
–Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith