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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Computer scammer strikes local resident

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  • A local business recently reported receiving a phone call from a scammer demanding money for a past-due utility bill – threatening a quick disconnection.
    But scams apparently come in pairs.
    A Nebraska City man last week said he spent the better part of a week receiving calls from a scammer who claimed to be a representative of Microsoft, asking for remote access to his computer.
    Tim Morgan, who is visually impaired, said he fell for it once before in November 2013, but he wont get fooled again.
    "They got me for $120 bucks," said Morgan, who relies on a Caller ID with a voice feature to know who's calling. "At that time I was stupid enough [and] gave them my banking account information. I went to this website. They wiped out my sound - and wiped out my voice… I had to go get a new computer."
    Last week, Morgan began receiving calls from the alleged scammer, who he described as a man with a "difficult to understand, possibly southern accent." All calls came from a phone number with a 940 area code.
    Morgan said he received multiple calls on his home and business phones, and the man even called his mother.
    "This is getting crazy," Morgan said on Aug. 22. "My mother doesn't even own a computer.
    Morgan says the man identified himself as a Microsoft employee making a free courtesy call to update information, as Morgan's computer was "sending errors."
    Much like the first incident, the man then asked Morgan to grant him remote access to Morgan's computer, which requires logging on to a website.
    When Morgan balked and inquired what the cost would be, the man advised Morgan there would be a fee of $120.
    Morgan refused.
    Morgan said he notified the Nebraska City Police Department that Monday, Aug. 18, to advise them of the situation.
    Even after refusing, the calls continued.
    Morgan said on Aug. 21 he received nine calls in a 24-hour period, but by Friday (Aug. 22) the calls had stopped.
    A growing trend
    This scam has become an issue statewide.
    In a November 2013 report from the Omaha World-Herald's Barbara Soderlin,
    Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning's office had received six complaints that month about this very scam.
    “Computers house a gold mine of information that scammers can use against you,” Bruning told the World-Herald.
    Consumers are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at 800-727-6432 or go to www.ago.ne.gov.
    Scammers have become adept at setting up fake website and sending fraudulent e-mails claiming to be Microsoft, and the telephone scam has grown in popularity.
    "Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories, so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you," the Microsoft website says. "They might even guess what operating system you're using.
    Page 2 of 2 - "Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes."

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