ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) — Elyria police are warning residents of a computer pop-up scam targeting unsuspecting people, especially those not familiar with technology.
In a Facebook post, the department says they received a fraud complaint from a 74-year-old Elyria resident and were thankfully able to intercept a package sent containing $200,000 in cash before it was too late.
The resident was working on their computer when a notification popped up saying that the computer was infected with a virus, then instructing them to call a 1-800 number at “Microsoft.”
After calling the 1-800 number, the resident was told to send the cash in a package via a common carrier service to an out-of-state address and in return they would “clean the computer of the virus.”
“Scams of this nature are very common and it’s astounding how many criminals succeed with getting items of value,” the department said in the post. “Please take the time to talk with your family and friends, especially those that may be unfamiliar with computers and phones, about these scams.
The Federal Trade Commission lays out four basic red flags to know it’s a scam:
- Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know
- Scammers say there’s a PROBLEM or a PRIZE
- Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately
- Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way
The FTC also gives a list of Dos and Don’ts:
- Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.
- Don’t act immediately. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.
- Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
- Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.
Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission if you think you fell victim.