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Computer scam targets include local residents

Clark County woman says scammer became aggressive.

A scam that was prevalent a few years ago is making a comeback nationwide, and its effects are being felt in the Miami Valley.

On Thursday, the Dayton Better Business Bureau confirmed that callers are posing as Microsoft employees and reaching out to citizens to tell them there are “problems” with their computers. Posing as support technicians, they’ll eventually seek a credit card number to complete the work.

They’ve also attempted to gain access to contacts lists stored on personal computers.

Cases have been reported in Clark, Montgomery and Mercer counties. John North, president and CEO of the BBB, said hundreds of reports have been filed across North America.

“This is not the first time we’ve seen this scam,” he said. “We first saw it several years ago, and recently we saw a surge in it over the last few months.”

So far, the BBB is not aware of any cases locally in which people have lost money. The agency recommends you be leery if you receive a suspicious phone call.

“Microsoft isn’t going to call you to tell you that you have a problem on your computer,” North said. “Tech support won’t (do that).”

Cheryl McKenzie, of Moorefield Twp., said she received a phone call on Wednesday from someone posing as a Microsoft employee. She was told the company had picked up on pings from her computer, and someone overseas was using that signal for criminal activity.

“It was very scary,” she said. “I almost felt compelled to do as he said because he was so adamant.”

McKenzie confronted him after a few minutes. He became vulgar.

“He said, ‘What am I trying to steal?,’” she recalled. “He got very angry at me at the end … very forceful.”

North said that’s one of the red flags.

“The individual on the other end of the line can get very aggressive,” he said.

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