NORTHEAST WISCONSIN (WBAY) - People pretending to be members of Microsoft Windows tech support are calling homes in our area looking to cheat people out of hundreds of dollars and investigators say it’s working.
State and federal investigators started tracking this tech support scheme months ago, but still, the criminals behind it are finding new victims right here in Northeast Wisconsin, stealing money and wrecking computers.
“We learned. We learned a hard one, but we hope to regain our composure so to speak and get our money back,” said Sandy Heinemann.
Less than a week ago Heinemann and her husband took a call from someone who claimed to be affiliated with Microsoft. The person on the phone said they wanted to protect them from a computer crash.
“For every question you had, they had answers that seemed logical,” said Heinemann.
In less than 15 minutes, the person on the phone asked for a $10 payment to secure the computer. Even after they had the payment information, they kept calling. That’s when the Heinemann’s noticed something was wrong.
“I agreed to $10. You took out $300 and like I said before in the interim of all that my house payment bounced my service bill bounced so we had to call all these companies and explain what happened to us,” said Heinemann.
In Brown County one computer technician says in the past three months he dealt with as many as 100 customers who found themselves targets of this tech support scheme.
“I’ve had customers that have called me the next day, or the day after when their computer wouldn’t turn on, it locked up they had crashes, viruses on it and the worst case scenario were those who were scammed out of 3, 4, 5, 6 hundred dollars and more,” said Computer Technician Dan Conzemius.
Both the Federal Trade Commission and the State sent consumer alerts to warn people about this scheme. They say no company should ever call and ask to access your computer unless you’ve requested it. Investigators say the easiest way to avoid being a victim is to hang up the phone.