The Durham Regional Police Service is warning the community after two victims reported the theft of personal information through a computer scam.
Police say they have investigated two separate incidents involving a scammer contacting victims, proposing to sell them software protecton for their Microsoft or Apple computers. The victims are reportedly given several anti-virus software options to choose from and once the the purchase is complete, the program is installed on their computer.
A few months later, police say the scammer calls back to advise there is an issue with the software, indicating the purchaser will be fully reimbursed. Police say the scammer wil return the money to the victim’s bank account but then requests the victim wires them back an amount, citing an overpayment by the company. The victim then returns the money, unaware that the suspect has transferred the money from the victim’s Visa or Line of Credit to their account.
According to police, the “anti-virus” software installed on the computer is actually malware and extracts all the information on the computer.
Police say the suspects in these two cases targeted older adults and tried to gain the trust of their victims by appearing to be fair and honest. In both cases the suspect reportedly waited a few months before acting out the fraud.
In total, these two victims were defrauded of more than $32,000.
Police have offered the following tips to avoid falling victim of fraud:
- Do your homework first about a company or product;
- Never provide personal information through the Internet or by email. Ask for advice from friends or family, specifically someone with expertise in the product youre purchasing;
- Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords and PINs secret.
For more information or to report a scam attempt, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.
Anyone wishing to report a fraud in Durham Region is asked to contact Durham Regional Police at 1-888-579-1520.