Fraud of the Week: There's a virus on your computer

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Compliments of the King County Sheriff's Office

Can you afford to lose $40,000? Dumb question right?

Here's a fraud alert you'll want to pay attention to because it can affect anyone with a laptop or home computer.

A 68 year old woman in unincorporated Renton got a pop up screen that told her she had a virus on her computer. The scammers told her they could fix it by installing repair software, which she'd have to purchase. She did.

The phony repair software isn't the end of the scam. The software purchase gave the scammers her account information, and this is where they made the grab for big money.

The scammers claimed “our bank messed up and accidentally put $72,000 in your account, please wire transfer the rest back." In reality this isn't a deposit. The scammers transferred $72,000 from the woman's savings account to her checking so it appeared to her to be a deposit.

Thinking she's returning money that isn't rightfully hers, the woman went to her bank and withdrew the maximum the bank would allow, $40,000, and mailed it to the scammers.

But before she could withdraw and mail the remaining $32,000 she realized she'd been scammed.

Before you judge, remember these scams almost always target older people who may be easily confused or manipulated. Please alert your parents, older relatives and neighbors that the computer virus scam is back. These often vulnerable members of our society need our help and protection.


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