Microsoft scam hits Okanagan

Kelowna RCMP have received four reports of a so-called Microsoft scam from local residents over the past few days.

The scam consists of a cold-call from a person claiming to represent a well-known brand, such as Microsoft, who then proceeds to tell the victim they are checking into a computer problem, infection or virus that has been detected on the victim's computer.

The scammer gets the victim to give up remote access to their computer and will then spend some time on the computer trying to demonstrate where the problems are in order to convince the victim to pay a fee—usually hundreds of dollars—for a service that will fix the computer.

While there is probably nothing wrong with the computer, the scammer tricks the victim into believing a problem exists. This can lead to credit card information being compromised as it is given to the scammer.

In some cases, the service offered may be the installation of malware or spyware, making the computer a fountain of information for them.

Police have received at least four reports of this scam over the past few days indicating the callers are using very aggressive tactics and have even called back multiple times.

"Do not give in to their fraud as you will only be out the cash you paid for the phoney service," said Kelowna RCMP Const. Kris Clark.

"Never give out personal or financial information over the phone as you never know how that information will be used.

"And never allow someone you don't know to have remote access to your computer, no matter how legitimate their sales pitch sounds."

Clark added the calls have been coming from out-of-country and, so far, victims have lost between $150 to $300.


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