published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
HCSO warns of computer scam
Special to the News-Sun
SEBRING -- The Highlands County Sheriff's Office would like to alert the public concerning recent reports of suspicious and possibly fraudulent activity.
A Highlands County resident reported being contacted by phone by a male caller representing himself as working for Microsoft.
The caller told the resident his computer was sending out personal information and said the resident needed to go to the website www.teamviewer.com and read the ID and password information to the caller.
The resident was then instructed to accept a remote connection on his computer.
These calls do not originate from Microsoft and Microsoft has issued a press release warning computer users that these phone calls are scams.
Someone accessing a computer through remote access have access to any information stored on that computer, just as if they were sitting in front of it.
Many personal computers have financial information, personal identifiers, passwords and other sensitive data that criminals can use to commit fraud and identity theft.
Remote access to your computer should only be allowed in rare circumstances and legitimate businesses will not initiate phone calls to request remote access.
Never accept remote access connections unless you initiated a call for service and you are certain of the identity of the person you are allowing to access your computer.
Any Highlands County residents who have received similar phone calls and allowed remote access to their computers are urged to make a report with the sheriff's office.
In addition, you should evaluate what information may have been compromised and cancel or change accounts, log-in information and passwords that may no longer be secure.
At a minimum, the HCSO recommends that you contact at least one of the three credit reporting companies and verify that your identity has not been stolen.
The numbers for these companies are as follows: Experian: 1-800-397-3742, Equifax: 1-800-685-1111, Trans Union: 1-800-888-4213.
More information on identity theft, Internet crime and fraud may be found at http://www.highlandssheriff.org/CrimePrevention/OtherLinks.shtml/.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Highlands County Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit at 402-7369.
This investigation remains open. Anyone with information is requested to call the Highlands County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Unit at 863-402-7447 or 863-402-7250.
Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477) or online at www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com/. Anonymity is guaranteed.
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