Computer Scams and Swindles

This information comes directly from a press release by the Better Business Bureau: May 28, 1997 — The Columbia, South Carolina Better Business Bureau warns consumers who own a computer of a disturbing crime wave going on in Raleigh, North Carolina that could spread to other communities. Victims say the scam starts with a phone […]

This information comes directly from a press release by the Better Business Bureau:

May 28, 1997 — The Columbia, South Carolina Better Business Bureau warns consumers who own a computer of a disturbing crime wave going on in Raleigh, North Carolina that could spread to other communities. Victims say the scam starts with a phone call to their home. The caller claims to represent a software company and offers to provide the prospective victim with free software to test for the company. If the victim owns a computer and is interested in the software, the caller goes to work.

He asks questions about the victim and his or her computer, eventually determining where the victim lives and what kind of computer he or she uses. Then within a few days, the victim returns home from work to find that his or her home has been entered and the computer equipment gone.

These thieves are using the promise of free software and the guise of needing to determine compatibility to determine whether your equipment is worth the break in. And of course, if they want your stuff, they only need to ask for a street address for shipment of the free software.

The best defense here is obvious.

  • Don’t release such personal information over the phone to somebody you don’t know or trust.
  • If you’re interested in such an offer, ask the caller for his or her name and the company’s name, address and telephone number, tell the caller that you will return his or her call.
  • Verify that the company exists and is a reliable business by calling the BBB.
  • Then contact the company to find out if the caller does indeed work for the company, and that the company is making the offer available to consumers.
  • Report any suspicious telephone calls to your local police or sheriff’s department.

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