Scam alert: senior cautions residents about online gambit
On May 16, Claremont resident Marcyn Del Clements wanted to find a way to cook an acorn squash, so she decided to search the web for recipes. When she found a method she fancied, she clicked on a link.
“That sent me to another website, and then a third,” the senior wrote in an email to the Courier. “And suddenly my screen froze up.”
A bright yellow and black message then came across stating, both visibly and audibly, her computer may have been affected by “a Trojan horse virus” — dangerous malware — and that she should call a listed number for support.
Panicked, she did.
She spoke with two men, giving them her name, landline and cell phone numbers, and valuable computer information.
Shortly after hanging up, Clements’ youngest daughter informed her mother she had fallen victim to a technical support scam. The common computer scam began, like most, with a bright pop-up window explaining that the user’s computer needed assistance.
Clements, with the help of her daughter, changed her online account passwords, called her banks to cancel any credit and debit cards linked online, and wiped the computer clean before reinstalling everything from a backup drive. The experience left her shaken, but more alert to online scams.
Details on how to spot and prevent such scams are at consumer.ftc.gov. For information on other common types of scams, visit fbi.gov.
“I never did find out how to cook my acorn squash,” Clements wrote.