Computer repair scam hits the Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

The BBB said the crooks are cold calling their victims, trying to scare them into buying security software. But that really just opens up the victims to identity theft.

Christie Smith said when she received a phone call about the security problems on her PC she was concerned. At first, the call didn't seem odd since she had just installed software to help her PC run better.

"I got a phone call from aBbrad. And Brad said he was with Microsoft support," Smith said.

Smith also said Brad told her the problem he detected was with a PC registered in her name. But the computer is actually not in her name. So Smith, a BBB employee, called her boss.

After some online digging the pair discovered the plot to rip off unsuspecting computer users.

"These scammers that are calling are trying to gain access to your computer to either install malware or gain access to personal information," said Cindy Dudley, Director of Business Services.

What the company also wants, according to the BBB, is for the victims to spend another $150 on software to give the scammers that access.

Dudley said major companies, like Microsoft, would never make cold calls for computer repairs.

"If you think your computer is at risk, go to your own computer vendor, your own software people or go to the manufacturer," Dudley warned.

Smith said she thought the program she installed was reputable. Her takeaway from the incident, do your homework before you buy anything.

It's not clear whether anyone's identity has been stolen. But we're told several people have paid the $150 for what they found out later is scam software.

And the BBB said at least one person is still trying to get their money back.

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