LAGRANGE, Ga. - If you aren't that comfortable around computers, or you know someone like that, the FOX 5 I-Team has a warning you need to hear.
Authorities said crooks pretending to be from Microsoft have called random people, scaring them into thinking something's wrong with their computer. Follow their instructions and you could wind up spending money on problems that do not exist, or worse -- giving up control of your computer to a conman.
"They prey on the elderly and people who just aren't savvy and that's so wrong," said LaGrange resident Doug Flor. He got a similar call. Luckily, he's been around a computer or two. He once worked for computer giant Hewlett-Packard.
"They're trying to bilk people," Flor said about the phony Microsoft salesmen. "They need to be nailed."
So when Doug got that call, he recorded the conversation.
Doug:You want me to go where?
Conman: Sir, look on your keyboard. At the bottom left corner of the keyboard there is control key. CRTL key, right?
Conman: Click enter.
Doug: And when I click enter, what will this do?
Conman: It will open up a page sir in which you can see the problems. What problems are there. It will help me see that.
We're not specifying everything the caller wanted Doug to do with the computer. But authorities say in some cases victims gave up control of their computer and had to pay to get it unlocked. In other cases, victims were tricked into thinking their computer was infected with malware and bought unneeded -- or even fake -- malware protection software.
"Know that Microsoft would never reach out to you directly nor would any of our partners," said senior Microsoft attorney Courtney Gregoire. "We're not calling." http://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2014/12/18/microsoft-takes-action-tech-support-scammers/
Last year, the computer giant sued one company accused of scamming customers in its name, trying to sell malware protection for an imaginary problem the telemarketer created. Microsoft is pushing for international law enforcement efforts, plus beefing up their warnings to the public.
There is also concern the scam could gain new victims confused with the rollout of Windows 10.
"It's one of the biggest schemes out there," said Doug Flor, the LaGrange man too savvy to be scammed. "And they collect money hand over fist."