LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)  Scammers are getting more and more creative as they try to get to your personal and financial information. A Lakewood resident reports getting a phone call that led her to log onto her computer, then the caller hijacked her computer right before her eyes.

“They got me!,” said Kathy Davis.

Davis said the call came in the evening and the caller identified himself as being from Microsoft Security. He told her her computer had viruses and that if she logged on right then he could clean it up for her. He asked her to go to a certain website, then he took over control.

“And all of the sudden he said, ‘Don’t do a thing. Don’t do a thing. I’ve got control of your computer’,” Davis explained.

The screen started showing error messages, and Davis started getting suspicious. When they asked for money to fix the problem, Davis hung up the phone and shut off her computer.

“That particular scheme is not something I’ve heard about…that’s a new one,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey.

But, he said, it is illegal. Storey said that in the State of Colorado, identity theft is a class four felony.

Davis is not exactly sure what the caller was after, whether he wanted her credit card number, or to pull personal information offer her hard drive or to load unwanted software onto her system, or all of it.

“I realized how computer illiterate I am because I thought I don’t know what they’re getting off of my computer or what they are putting on it,” she told CBS4.

Experts say it’s very possible they were loading software that the computer owner would never see but that they could access again and again.

“They’re able to install key reading software, that means every stroke I make on my computer can be read by that software and then retrieved by the crooks,” said Cary Johnson, Director of Crime Prevention for the Jefferson County D.A.’s office.

Johnson said that prevention is the best method of protection.

“That is why we advise that people don’t store any personal info on their computer… no bank account numbers, no social security numbers, no credit card numbers, those should never be anywhere on a hard drive,” Johnson added.

He recommended that Davis have her computer scanned to see if there is any malicious software on it. She did get a free scan at one electronics store and the technician didn’t find anything. It would have cost money to get a more thorough scan done. Davis was still worried about using her old computer so she went ahead and bought a new one.

One tip that Johnson offered is that when you buy a new computer, keep the old one so you can do personal work, like your tax returns, on it offline. Then you can put it online just for the few minutes it takes to send the return. That way you can have a place to keep your personal information that is not connected to the internet.

This story is an important reminder that businesses and government agencies will not call you on the phone to solve or correct any consumer issue. So if you get a call like this, you know not to take it.

But if you do get caught by a scammer, and it’s likely to happen to all of us eventually, the Jefferson County D.A.’s office offers this brochure called How Can You Recover From Identity Theft?

— Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

Comments (15)
  1. Jane Mathews, Golden says:

    This same scam happened to me on Dec. 14th. The caller had a thick Indian accent, told me he was calling from Microsoft support center. in Wilmington Delaware, He said his name was Justin, and that I could call him back at 213-550-1062. He gave me the same instructions for my computer, but I did not feel trustful of him and hung up. The area code he was calling from was not Wilmington, but Los Angeles. I had my computer scanned, and reported the incident to Windows. Should I report this to Jeffco D.. A.’s office?

    1. ScubaSteve says:

      What can the DA’s office do since no crime was committed? There were some lies told, but no crime was actually committed.

      1. Just me says:

        It is called conspiracy, and yes it is a crime. You should report it, and it will help the appropriate people take care of this.

  2. Lynn says:

    No one is EVER gonna call you to tell you ya have a computer virus. How the hell would anyone know that? And then pick up the phone and CALL YOU? Geez, if people just stopped for one minute to THINK they wouldn’t get themselves in trouble like this.

    1. Kathy says:

      Lynn

      That iis part of the story, how do they know. I assume the same way they know what ads to send you and what websites you might be looking for on search engines, and what emails to block as security risks. Someone is watching!

  3. R Domingo says:

    Spell check the title of this article. Vigilent is not a word.

  4. Rich Abbey says:

    I got this same call. In fact they called about 7 or 8 times before I fonally got curious and let them tell me what I needed. The call was coming from a 235 area code which said Auburn on my caller ID. The person had a thich indian access. she first had me look at my rvt viewer and then she tried to get me to log on to a web address logmein…that’s when I told her no we arent giving her access to my computer and hung up.

  5. DevenVet says:

    This is terrible and dispicable. I hope they find these jerks!

  6. mkdenver1 says:

    People are so terrible now a days! I strongly suggest everyone getting a Security Suite of some sort on your computer. If you’re a customer of Comcast or Qwest you already get a free subscription to Norton and that program works just wonderfully.

    That way if anyone calls you and tries to get you to do this, all you have to do is tell them “my antivirus is working very well, we don’t need anything further” and hang up.

  7. Linda Jones says:

    I received a call 309pm on Jan 20th the caller said it was Frank and my comp has been infected with a virus and I needed to sign on and he would walk me through it. I then asked what comp in my household and he said the one that has Intel on the cover the funny this is I just purchased a new comp from Dell the day before. I said I have antivirus on my comp then he said that wasn’t good enough that I needed to sign on my comp. Before I would do anything I asked for his phone number and I would call him back. When I called him back at 510-722-6000 it didn’t go through on my caller ID the number was 05-214-7252. I did leave a voice message with Tom Martino on Friday Jan 21 but ever received a call back and now I seen this on the news last PM

  8. Julue says:

    I got the phone call today on my home phone while I was at work. A family member who was at home picked up the phone call, texted me to ask if I called anyone RE my computer. I told her to not do anything, but she did…..
    The guy had the same story, said he was from Microsoft, that I had viruses on my computer and he was here to help! She let the guy remote my computer, he was trying to install software but it was not working…..He was trying to get credit card info from her, she finally hung up the phone! I dont know if he was successful at whatever he was trying to do. I hope not!!!
    I just saw the story last night. I cant believe this happened to me!

  9. Burt says:

    I got the call yesterday (02/02/2011 @ 5:06pm). I can’t remember the guy’s name, but he had a somewhat significant Indian accent. He said he was from Microsoft Security, and wanted to know if I had seen the warnings on my computer. I was immediately suspicious so I simply have him one word answers to his questions. This really shut him down. He asked if I had antivirus on my machine, and I simply responded, “maybe”. These guys really don’t know how to handle this type of conversation. They expect you to give them tons of information about your situation. I asked him where I should go next. He wanted me to go into computer management and look under even viewer to check the “warnings”. Total scam.

    I simply asked him what he was after. His response was, “we just want to make sure your computer is not infected with any viruses. My answer, “it’s not.” Again he was stumped. I told him thank you and have a good night.

    The number on caller ID was also 05-214-7252.

  10. Number 6 says:

    This happened to good friends of mine yesterday. As soon as they said Sam with a thick Indian accent from Microsoft called, I told them it was a scam. They got suspicious and powered off the PC; but only after Sam had control of their PC for a while. I’m hoping nothing of value was found on their computer.

    I told them to call the cops, and that I suspect they will refer them to the Colorado Attorney General’s office, call their credit card companies and credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on their accounts.

    My friend wrote the first five of six digits of what we think are Sam’s router IP address, and I told them to provide that to the authorities as well.

    I scanned their PC for them and found nothing wrong; but who knows what Sam snagged during his time in control of their computer.

    Scammers like this need to be shot.

  11. michael gallegos says:

    Hi,

    Yesterday Sept 1, ~4pm I also received a call from this odd number and was a bit creepy (being a tech, I went along til i could no longer stand it as I knew it was bogus and dragging on). The person I spoke with obviosuly did not speak english, with someone in the background coaching/directing this person what to say. The accent sounded middle-eastern, maybe Indian, but not sure…just be careful. The same number same account is what i witnessed. We called Boulder Sherrif but they reported no such scam he was aware of.

    So please watch out for this and report it so there is a record somewhere and this can be dealt with by the authorities. Do not give your personal information or any control of your computers out to anyone!

    all the best!

  12. Linda says:

    Insistent bunch! I’ve had four calls from them in six days. I’ve provided no information and refused to open my computer although one was already open two of the times when they called. They said I was running Windows XP, but all my computers are Macs, none with Windows installed. When asked, they tell me they are calling from The Software Maintenance Department of 24-7 PC Help in Miami, FL. Phone 307-529-3637, but my caller ID registers 206-456-0661 which is a Seattle area code. I’ve allegedly spoken with Arnold Cage, Nicky, Brad Dilfford or Dilsford, and Les. All had the same heavy Indian accent and spoke VERY rapidly. They have provided a 31-character alphanumeric code which is supposedly my computer ID address. I did report it to my ISP and filed a report with the FTC. They didn’t get to the point of asking for money so I don’t know how much they wanted.