Local computer expert warns of growing scam

A computer expert in Mission is warning his customers and people around the metro about a scam targeting home computers that appears to be spiking over the last month.

Larry Goodman, owner of Computer Solutions in Mission says the scam works like this:

Someone calls potential victims at home claiming to work with a major hardware or software company like Microsoft or Adobe. The caller says the company has detected virus activity on the victim's home computer. Usually, these calls originate overseas with the caller stating that they are calling from Singapore or another Asian country.

If the victim agrees, the caller then is given access to the computer remotely and brings up its event viewer, commonly referred to as “error logs.”

Goodman says every machine, even brand new ones, have error logs, but the scammer depends on a victim not knowing that information.

The scammer uses the error logs as proof of a problem and asks for several hundred dollars to clean up the computer.

“They're excellent salesmen,” Goodman explained. “They're good at convincing you who they're with and they're good at convincing you it’s absolutely urgent that you do something.

Goodman said dozens of his customers have been targeted by the scam recently, with several people giving up their credit information.

On Wednesday afternoon, Ryan Zimmerman became one of the latest to be targeted when the scammers called his home phone. He became suspicious early in the call and hung up the phone.

“As soon as she immediately didn't say my name, didn't say anything, just this is so-and-so, you've got a virus. I'm like... you don't know that. How would you know that I have a virus in my computer?” Zimmerman recalled.

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