FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Better Business Bureau says it's not a matter of if but when anyone will be targeted by a computer technical support scam.
In a study released Monday morning, the FBI says U.S. consumers lost more than $21 million to the scheme so far this year alone.
Action 2 News first introduced you to Kristin Trochil in 2016. She was the victim of a tech support scam.
At the time Trochil said, "It's frustrating and it's scary. I fell for it in the moment because I was nervous they were taking my stuff."
According to the Better Business Bureau, Trochil's story isn't uncommon. Tech support scams are very prevalent and could happen to anyone.
"I think one of the biggest revelations in this report, is how widespread the problem is. Microsoft says it gets 12,000 complaints every month about this scam," says Susan Bach with the BBB.
And so far this year, the FTC and FBI have received more than 41,000 complaints, nearly half from people who say a pop up window appeared on their screen and they needed to call a specific number for help. The majority of the others reporting they received a random phone call.
Bach says, "The consumer basically hands over control of their computer to the scammer and then the scammer charges them for that. Sometimes there's no computer virus at all, most of the time. And often times the scammer is actually adding or downloading malware to their computer."
The BBB says just like the IRS won't call you on the phone to collect back taxes, and local police agencies won't call and threaten to arrest you if you don't pay a fee to get out of jury duty, any calls or pop-ups about your computer needing tech support should be ignored.
"No government official, no computer company is going to proactively reach out to you to tell you this. Anytime anyone tells you that, it's clearly a scam," adds Bach.