Creston RCMP warn about computer-phone scam

Web Lead

  • Nov. 10, 2011 5:00 p.m.

Complaints about several variations of the “Microsoft” phone scam have been flowing regularly into the RCMP station, Staff Sgt. Bob Gollan said on Monday.

“A caller, often claiming to work for Microsoft or another reputable software company, will cold-call you and ask if your computer is running slowly or not working as it should,” he said. “He will then offer to repair your computer via Internet access, which can involve either software installation or the caller gaining remote control of your computer after you’ve granted him access. Payment for the software or the repair service is handled via your credit card, with charges typically ranging from $35 to $470 per call.”

The problem, Gollan said, is that the caller is actually searching for personal information, such as bank accounts and passwords, while he or she is connected. Then, to make matters worse, the person who has been scammed really does get a bill for the service.

“Computer owners should be aware that this is a scam and no one should ever give out personal information over the telephone except when they are certain they are dealing with a legitimate company,” he said. “Please do not allow callers access to your computer at any time.”

This particular scam now accounts for about 70 to 80 per cent of frauds reported daily to the RCMP and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).

Allowing a third party to download software or remotely access your computer carries a number of serious risks, according to the CAFC. Malicious software can be installed to capture sensitive data such as your online banking user names and passwords, bank account information and your personal identity information. All of this information can be used in subsequent frauds that empty your bank accounts and charge your credit cards.

Your computer can also be converted to a bot-net, which means criminals can use it without your knowledge or participation. It can then be used to spam other people, spread viruses to your friends or overload computer networks.

Getting your credit card information is the second important part of the virus scam. Once a criminal has that information it can be used to make purchases without your consent.

Canadians should be aware that not all virus scams are conducted over the phone. Many CAFC callers report being scammed after responding to Internet pop-up ads for anti-virus software.

Staff Sgt. Paul Proulx of the CAFC offers this simple advice: “If you’re really worried about viruses on your computer, be pro-active and use anti-virus software that you’ve acquired from reputable sources and keep it up to date. If someone calls you out of the blue offering to provide this kind of help, it’s probably a scam. Remember, it’s not rude to hang up on someone who’s trying to steal your money and information.”

Visit the CAFC’S website,, for the latest on emerging fraud trends, advice on protecting yourself and victim’s guides that will help you recover from fraud loss, or call 1-888-495-8501.

For more information on the government of Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy, visit



Just Posted

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

They support us, let’s support them

Local businesses support our local economy, but they need us as much as we need them.

Genelle ‘vehicle incident’ under RCMP investigation

Regional firefighters respond to car fire Sunday night

Nelson commits to 100% renewables by 2050

This makes Nelson the sixth city in Canada to join the worldwide initiative

Health Canada consumer alert

Flintstones Plus Iron multivitamins for children: One bottle found to contain unidentified capsules instead of chewable tablets

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Best B.C. cities to live in: millennial edition

Other local municipalities score at bottom of list from real estate blog

LIVE: Solitary confinement in Canadian prisons unconstitutional: B.C. Supreme Court

Associations argued that solitary confinement was inhuman

1 in 4 B.C. consumers unable to pay bills, debt repayment: poll

Since interest rates first rose in July, poll suggests households across B.C. have had to tighten budget

SOGI rally disrupts school board meeting, but business carries on

Chilliwack school board makes statement in support of B.C.-wide gender identity teaching resource

B.C. husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

Couple presented with Vital Link Awards for quick use of CPR

154 remote B.C. communities to get high-speed internet

Government funding to bring subsea fiber optic cable to connect people on the coast

Kelowna West byelection called for Feb. 14

Four candidate race to replace departed former B.C. premier Christy Clark

Bank of Canada hikes interest rate to 1.25%, cites strong economic data

The rate increase is expected to prompt Canada’s large banks to raise their prime lending rates

Most Read