Some Helpful Scam Info

Recently the DeSoto Sheriff’s Office received a call from a resident who was in fear she had been scammed.  We wanted to share the details of that call, and what you should do if you feel you have been victimized.

The resident received a call from someone claiming to work for Google.  The scammer stated that they had repeatedly attempted to reach the resident through email but had not received a response.  The resident was then informed that her Google Account had been compromised, which was the reason they were reaching out.  They wanted to assist her in changing her login information.  The story was not all that believable; however, the resident could not remember her Google password to login, and she says the scammer provided her password to her.  This made the story more believable, in her opinion.  It wasn’t long before the scammer offered to help by requesting access to connect to the residents computer….and after connecting they tried to sell her a “Firewall Software” for $1,800.  At this point the resident began to feel as though she was being scammed and ended the call.  In this case, it is likely that the damage was already done.

#1:  HOW DID THE SCAMMER KNOW HER PASSWORD?

It isn’t that difficult to obtain a password these days.  Pretending to be Google or another company, these scammers will setup entire websites that look very real, then they will send you emails hoping that you click their link to login.  This is one way your login information can be stolen.   So yes, those emails and texts you sometimes receive stating that there is an issue with your PayPal account, or that your FedEx package has a problem, or to click a link to fix something on your Facebook page….those are all potential scams to watch out for.  A great rule of thumb is to NEVER trust unsolicited emails, calls, or texts.  If you are truly concerned that the email or text may be real, do not use any methods of contact that are provided to you.  Exit the email or text and follow up on your account in the same way you usually would.  But do NOT click ANY of their links.

#2:  WHAT WAS THE GOAL HERE?

This scammers real goal was establishing a connection to her computer.  Think about it, on your computer you login to everything.  Your credit card accounts, your bank accounts, social media, bills, amazon, etc.  Many even store all of those logins in their Google Chrome browser, which would provide access to everything.  EVEN IF you may not store passwords, allowing a connection to your computer gives the scammer an opportunity to secretly install software that will send them your login info the next time you go to any of those sites.  When they have your login, they have access to your finances.

#3:  WHAT DO I DO IF THIS HAPPENS?

First and foremost, disconnect from the internet.  Power down your computer completely.  The scammer cannot continue that connection if your computer does not have internet access and it powered down.  If you allowed the scammer to connect to your computer it is possible something was installed. Seek a computer tech to assist you to clean up that machine soon.   Also, keep a close eye on all of your accounts for unusual transactions.  If you feel certain that your financial information was compromised, you may even contact your card holders and either cancel or place a hold on those cards.

You can always file a report with the Sheriff’s Office if you have been scammed, but if you just want information or advice on topics like this one you can always call our Deputy of Public Relations, Mark Pierce at 318-461-0504.  While I do not assist in filing a report, I would be happy to chat and offer advice on what you can do to protect yourself from financial fraud.


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