A single phone call can put your entire computer and everything on it at risk

Consumers from Land O' Lakes to Largo say they've been hit by a scam that allows con men to have total access to their computers.

Nancy Nikolopoulos and Branda Barren followed the instructions a scammer gave them by phone and allowed the caller remote and total access to their computers. In both cases, the caller said they would need to purchase $150 worth of software to repair and protect their PCs.

At our request, Pinellas Computers set up a PC in perfect working order and called back one of these scammers.

We watched as the person on the other end took complete control of the computer. The person then displayed scan results that indicated trouble. But for $300 the caller offered to install software that would protect the PC. Then the caller opened a digital note pad, not a secure site, and asked for a credit card number.

Both of these consumers hung up when the caller asked for money, but in Barren’s case the hacker disabled her computer, which led to a costly repair.

The bottom line: Techs won't call you about your computer unless you call them first. If you get one of these calls, hang up because it’s a rip-off.

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