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Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Mercer sheriff warns of computer scam

By Kathy Thompson
The Mercer County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a possible scam that is popping up throughout the county.
Sheriff Jeff Grey said his office received at least four complaints this morning and several Tuesday regarding phone calls from people advertising they are with a software company and telling the consumer something is wrong with the computer the consumer owns.
The caller is claiming a virus is on the consumer's computer and the caller claims to be able to fix the issue if the consumer gives the caller access to their computer.
"We suggest you give no one access to your computer," Grey stated in a press release. "Please be vigilant with all your personal information, including your home and work computer."
Grey said no one called has agreed to allow access to their computer.
According to the Ohio Attorney General's Office, this scam is being used frequently and it also is warning consumers to never allow someone unfamiliar to have access to a computer or any information.
The warning states that when a person allows someone to gain access to his or her computer, malware is placed on the computer and it locks the computer until a fee is paid or the caller is able to gain personal information.
Fraud.org also is warning against this same scam, in which a caller will identify himself or herself as an employee of Microsoft or Norton and the consumer is told a virus is on a computer.
The Federal Trade Commission reports the average consumer has lost $875 in the scam; the commission received more than 40,000 complaints of the scam in 2012.
Anyone who receives a call should report it to the sheriff's office at 419-586-7724.
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