The Geneva Police Department is asking residents to be alert for suspicious online behavior after taking two reports March 10 for computer fraud and tampering.
In the first case, a resident responded to a pop-up message stating the computer was no longer online and needed to be fixed by calling a 1-800 number. After calling the number, the person answering the phone said the company would need remote access to the resident’s computer.
Once granted access, the offender “allegedly” fixed the computer and then said the service fee was $784.05. The resident complied with the request by providing a bank account number and ended up losing the money in the scam.
A similar situation occurred later that day when another computer was hacked, and the offender convinced a different resident there was something wrong with the machine. The offender advised the problem could be fixed for $199 that could be paid with a credit card. The resident refused to provide a credit card number and preferred to pay with a check. The offender said the company would send someone over to pick up the check, but the meeting never took place.
These two examples are common scams that are often initiated against senior citizens. Some tips to help prevent becoming a victim of online fraud include:
- Do not open suspicious or unknown emails, attachments, text messages or pop-up messages. Example: An email with an unusually worded subject heading.
- Only allow someone to remotely access your computer if they are from a trusted source, such as your internet service provider.
- No genuine online company will contact you to ask for login information, including passwords. People should only need to provide this information when logging into a service, such as online banking.
- Do online searches to investigate the legitimacy of companies.
- Do not believe Caller ID. Technology being what it is, offenders can make it appear a legitimate company is calling. Recently, scammers in Aurora posed as Aurora police officers, using the department’s non-emergency phone number in Caller ID.
- If something appears suspicious, talk to a trusted family member or friend before signing up for a service or providing any money.
- Before making any online payments, make sure the website address is secure.
- Hang up on robocalls.
- Sign up for free scam alerts from the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/scams.
Geneva residents who have questions or concerns can call the Geneva Police Department at 630-232-4736 and ask for Officer Chuck Parisi, Crime Prevention, or Officer Penny Boedigheimer, Senior Care.
For website links for other Kane County communities, visit this page on the Kane County website.
SOURCE: city of Geneva