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Police warn of computer scam

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents this week that a telephone scam attempting to collect consumers’ personal information by claiming to be a Microsoft repair service has resurfaced in the area.

The sheriff’s office has reportedly received numerous calls from local residents concerning cyber criminals who have contacted them claiming to be from the computer company in an attempt to gain access to their computers and personal information.

NCSO detectives said the scammers start by telling victims Microsoft is receiving alerts that their computer has been infected and that their hard disk is going to crash if they don’t do something about it.

The callers then reportedly tell the victims that because they are a Microsoft Windows user they are entitled to a free service the company offers to fix the problem.

According to police, the scammers will then try to get the victims to let them have remote access to their computers.

Police say neither Microsoft nor any of its partners make unsolicited phone calls to work on computer security or software fixes.

Detectives want to remind the public that scammers often use publicly available phone directories to find contact information for potential victims, which means they may know the victim’s name and other personal information before they call. The scammer might even attempt to guess what operating system the victim is currently using as part of their scheme.

Once the criminals have gained a victim’s trust, police say they might ask them for their user name and password or ask the victims to go to a website to install software that will let them access their computer to “fix it.” Once a person does this, however, their computer and personal information becomes vulnerable to the thieves.

NCSO detectives want to caution the public that they should never accept unsolicited service calls for assistance as this is a common way of stealing personal information. Once the criminals have their hands on this kind of information it can give them the ability to use the victim’s identity illegally.

If anyone has any questions about the scam they can contact NCSO general assignment detectives by email at ncso_detectives@co.nye.nv.us or by calling the sheriff’s office 775-751-7000.

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