Scammers pick the wrong 'victim'

By Rachel Thomas

Computer virus scammers were messing with the wrong people when they called Jasmine Beveridge.
The 76-year-old Ohauiti woman was enjoying a visit from her son Martin, a technician at Need-a-Nerd, when she was phoned by Microsoft impersonators who claimed there was a virus on her computer.
Mr Beveridge suspected the callers were actually offshore scammers out to trick his mum into paying for software that didn't exist.
"I asked them who they were and they kept saying they were from the Microsoft support centre," he said.
Mr Beveridge said this scam was common in New Zealand and some people had paid out thousands of dollars.
"They ask for remote access and essentially they take over your computer and download something that looks like it's scanning and looking for errors when it's infecting it with a virus."
At the end of the scan, error messages come up on screen, making it appear a computer has problems.
"Then they do a sales pitch to fix these for a low cost. They ask for your credit card details," he said.
His mother has been called about three times and he said she's now a lot more aware.
A Tauranga man, who said he didn't want to be identified because he was embarrassed, was not so lucky. He lost $280 when a scammer called him.
"My computer was slow and it felt like it was starting to crash. Right at that moment they called and said they'd received information my computer was having problems," he said. "Normally I would say 'no' straight away and hang up."
But the scammers didn't ask for any details over the phone, instead they asked the man to set up a Paypal account.
"To me it sounded pretty good."
Mr Beveridge said people were usually quick to identify email scams but phone calls could be more believable because a person was speaking to you directly.

"People need to know that Microsoft will never call you up out of the blue. You are a number on their database.
"They do sound legitimate but I can assure you this is a scam. No one from Microsoft will ever ask you for money or try to sell you something over the phone."
Need-a-Nerd managing director Paul Logan said callers were skilled at bullying people.
"If they call I would suggest to hang up immediately."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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