CHARLES CITY, Iowa – We’ve all experienced the frustration of a computer not working, well some north Iowa folks are paying big time for trying to get help with their computers.
“They’re receiving a phone call about problems they might be having with their computer, which is pretty common most anybody would say, “Sure I’m having problems with my computer,”” explains Kurt Herbrechtsmeyer.
Herbrechtsmeyer is the president of First Security Bank and Trust in Charles City. In the past few weeks he’s had three customers come in for help. They’ve had personal information stolen from them after receiving a call from someone saying they work for Microsoft and want to help fix their computer problems.
“So they offer to assist via the internet by utilizing a system that takes over control of your computer, you give up access,” he says.
Which is actually a common practice used for legitimate computer customer service, according to technology instructor Mike Dirksen.
“It’s like their keyboard, their monitor, their mouse are connected to your computer via some means through a network,” says Driksen.
Back at the bank, Kurt says his customers didn’t have a real computer repair person on the other end of the connection; instead it was someone who took advantage of the access to the victims’ computers.
“Several hours later they’ve taken everything they want, explored all over your computer taken a lot of your information any of your financial info they can get access to,” he continues.
Think you’d never fall for something like this? Don’t be so sure. Kurt says in situations like this perpetrators use good social engineering by gaining their victims’ trust and making them believe it’s legitimate.
So what can you do?
“It seems like an old adage but if it doesn’t seem right just don’t do it,” advises Dirksen.
Because believe it or not, things like this happen all too often.
“We see something every week and if we’re seeing it so are other institutions,” Kurt adds.
If you are having computer problems, Dirksen says the best thing to do is take it in to a repair shop.