Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

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Scam Alert: Unsolicited Contacts By Scammers Offering Computer Protection

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is urging local residents to be aware of a computer-based scam in which consumers are contacted by people posing as technicians from established computer or software companies.

The scammers, who pretend to work on behalf of well-known companies such as Microsoft or Apple, either send pop-up messages or directly contact consumers claiming that the consumer has malware or a virus on his or her computer that requires immediate attention. When the consumer provides the scammer with a password or gives remote access to his or her computer, the scammers will either 'diagnose' a fictional problem or create an actual one. They will then demand large amounts of money – usually via wire transfer or other direct cash payment -- to 'correct' it. Consumers have reported that some scammers contact them numerous times claiming that their software requires further updates.

“These types of scams are wide-spread,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley.

“If you receive an unsolicited pop-up message or telephone call from someone claiming to be tech support and informing you that your computer is infected with a virus or malware, it’s likely to be a scam. If you are concerned that your computer may in fact be infected, call a well-known software security company or your computer manufacturer directly. Never give remote access to your computer or your password to anyone who contacts you in an unsolicited fashion.

If you have been victimized, immediately delete any malware on your computer, change your password and attempt to reverse any payments you may have made. We urge those who have fallen victim to scams such as this to reach out to our Consumer, Environmental and Worker Protection Division,” said DA O'Malley

If you feel you have been a victim of a scam such as this, please contact the Alameda County District Attorney’s CEPD unit at (510) 383-8600 or askcepd@acgov.org.

Posted on Feb 1, 2018