NYS Police warn the public of computer scam

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. – New York State Police from SP Canandaigua are warning the public about a new computer scam.

Officials gave the following description of the scam on their website:

When logging on to a computer, a message is displayed on the screen that states to contact Microsoft due to a virus. The victim then contacts the phone number provided and speaks with a person who identifies themselves as a representative of Microsoft’s Security Office. The victim is then told their bank account information has been compromised.”

Police are telling anyone who receives a call not to provide any personal information. Here are a few tips from police to protect yourself against these scams:

*Take a pause. Scammers create a sense of urgency to prey on victims’ emotions and their love for family members.

*Verify any supposed emergency by calling friends and family before sending money. This is especially important if a potential victim has been warned not to do so by the caller.

*If the caller purports to be a bail bondsperson, ask where the relative is being held and contact the facility directly.

*If the caller purports to be a law enforcement officer, get the exact agency name, hang up, and call that department directly.

*Be suspicious of anyone who calls unexpectedly asking to be sent money.

*Never send cash through the mail. 

*Never purchase pre-paid debit cards or gift cards for the purpose of transferring money.

*Develop a secret code or “password” with family members that can be used to verify the identity of family members over the phone.

*Ask a question that only the real family member would know the answer to, such as “what was the name of your first pet?”

*Set Facebook and other social media settings to private to limit information available to scammers, such as the names of relatives.