WEST NEWBURY — Interim Chief Jeffrey Durand would like to issue a warning to residents about a recent spike in scam callers looking to access computers.
Multiple residents have reported to police recently that they been asked by an unknown caller to give him or her remote access their computers.
Allowing a scam caller to remotely access a computer puts the passwords and other private information stored on the device at risk. It also opens the computer up to possible damage. Scam callers also frequently seek payment for “fixing” a nonexistent problem with a computer, like a virus.
According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website, phone scam callers who are seeking to access to a computer remotely may pretend to work for a technology company, like Microsoft or Apple. Scams may also cause pop-up messages to display on a computer screen, claiming the computer has a critical problem that must be fixed by calling a phone number and connecting to a technology support specialist.
“Residents need to be wary of unknown callers and suspicious pop-ups on their computers,” Chief Durand said. “It’s crucial to keep computers secure, considering all of the passwords and information we all store digitally today. Do not click on suspicious links, and do not give an unknown caller access to your computer.”
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has several tips for those looking to protect themselves from falling victim to a phone scam:
- Let calls from unknown phone numbers go to voicemail. Do not answer.
- If a caller claims to represent a company, like Google or Apple, hang up. Call the company, and verify if that individual was actually who they were claiming to be. Be sure to call the correct phone number by going to the organization’s website or looking at a recent bill from that organization.
- Know that even “local” numbers on caller ID may not be from a local caller.
- Never pay for a service with a gift card. Legitimate companies and organizations will not ask you to pay for any service with a gift card.
- Report scam calls with the FCC Consumer Complaint Center by visiting consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us.
- Report any money lost to a scam call to local police.
- Check to see if your phone company has a service that will block robocalls.
- Consider adding your telephone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry www.donotcall.gov/. Law abiding telemarketers will not call phone numbers once they are added to the list.