A Holbrook woman savvy enough to grab her iPhone after receiving a second call from a would-be scammer was able to record the exchange and notified police.
"I know this is a scam, and you're trying to hack into my computer and it's not going to happen. I'm smarter than you," Beth Santagata said before hanging up with the person on the other line. She uploaded the entire conversation to her YouTube channel shortly after and contacted Patch to spread the word.
"People who don't know better will fall for it," Santagata stated in an email.
Essentially the scam goes like this:
- Someone claiming to be from "Windows Company" calls and says that they have been notified through the IP address on your PC that there are viruses in your computer.
- To rectify this problem, they ask you to open a Windows Event Viewer log.
- They then direct you through a step-by-step process of downloading "software" to block these viruses.
- Once this is accomplished, they take an over-the-phone charge for the service. In some cases they charge as much as $500.
- The "software" you downloaded is a virus itself, and gives the scammers the ability to lock you out of your PC and gain access to personal information.
A detailed account of the scam was reported in Ars Technica last month.
Santagata said she notified police. A call to Suffolk's PIO revealed that police only investigate cases where the scammer actually got away with the con, but that it does like to keep records of phone and Internet scams in order to warn the public.
Santagata said that yesterday a friend received a similar call from a 212 number. When Patch called that number, a woman in a private residence answered and knew nothing about the scam. If you receive such a phone call, do not give any information to the caller and contact police at (631) 852-COPS.
*Editors Note: The phone number that appears in the YouTube video is NOT the phone number used by the attempted scammer, and is not affiliated with this incident. It is a generic still-shot used by Santagata to cover over the video.