At this point, you’ve probably heard of the IRS scam. You probably know that if you get a phone call claiming you won a cruise you probably shouldn’t get too excited and that if someone calls and asks for your credit card information, you shouldn’t give it to them.
So, here’s a new scam to tell you about: one that involves the “Colorado State Gov’t.”
No, this isn’t the thinly-veiled joke some people will make about this on social media, but rather a real scam that Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman warned about on Friday.
Here’s how it works: you’ll see something on your caller ID from “Colorado State Gov’t” with the phone number 800-222-4444. If you answer the phone, someone will tell you that your computer has a virus and they can help you … for a fee, of course.
Now, if you think about it logically …
“These phone calls are obviously false,” Coffman said in a news release. “No one in state government knows whether your computer is affected by a virus, and we certainly aren’t going to call you to get you to pay us to fix your computer.”
But, say you happen to see “Colorado State Gov’t” and think a call from them is pretty serious, so you continue to engage with these scammers.
What happens next is you visit a website that gives them remote access to your computer, allowing them to secretly install software that could track your passwords or steal your private information.
It’s an elaborate scam, but one that can be prevented if you know these basic bullet-points, the AG’s Office said:
-Strangers and pop-up ads that say “WARNING” have no idea there’s a virus on your computer. How could they? If someone claims you have a virus that isn’t a large software company that you hired to scan your computer for just that, then you know they’re messing with you and you should be very cautious.
-Anyway, a legit company will not just call you out of the blue or send a pop-up message.
-Don’t allow strangers remote access to your computer for any reason – you wouldn’t let a random person just walk around your house, would you?
-If you do suspect something’s wrong with your computer, talk to the manufacturer or an actual local repair shop
-Keep your security software up-to-date and turned on
-Turn on your pop-up blocker
If you’re wondering if something is a scam or you’ve experienced it yourself, you can file a report online: http://bit.ly/2zV1GlJ