BCSO warns of new fraud potential

Published 10:58 pm Monday, December 31, 2012

Nearly all scams are alike in at least one way: perpetrators taking advantage of inexperience. Such is the case with a new scam, in which those with limited knowledge of computer systems are being preyed upon, said law enforcement officials.
According to a press release from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, a man called a Chocowinity resident recently to say that her computer had a virus but the caller would be able to fix it if she paid him $100. The man said he was a representative of a company called IT Solutions and spoke with a heavy Indian accent. There is a real company named IT Solutions but none of its employees had made that call.
It’s the first time the sheriff’s office has heard of this particular scam, though it has been active in other areas, said Maj. Kenneth Watson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
Watson said most modern day, technology-based fraud the sheriff’s office has come across centers on resale websites like Craig’s List and, to a lesser extent, Ebay.
“Most of those involve overpayment of a purchase and
requests to Western Union money back to them. A lot of those involve fraudulent checks, too,” Watson explained.
In the Chocowinity case, the woman involved did not lose money, but her family wanted to share information about the incident because they realized they were likely not the only people being targeted in the scam, Watson said.
She also made sure to call her bank to verify there had been no fraudulent transactions made to her account.
“It was just a safety precaution—to see if she had been a victim or if (the caller) had any of her personal information,” Watson said, saying that a yearly check is a good idea regardless, including a credit report check.
When it comes to online security, law enforcement officials offer the following advice: be wary of any emails, text messages or phone calls that offer unsolicited services; deal with businesses that you are familiar with and that you contact personally; delete any emails that you did not request that ask for you to confirm financial information or passwords — opening these emails and any links they contain may expose your computer to viruses and/or malicious software.