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Phishing scam targets residents

A phishing scam is targeting San Angelo residents by using home phone numbers, according to the San Angelo Police Department. Read more here.
The San Angelo Police Department is warning residents of a Microsoft phishing scam which uses home phone numbers to target unwary residents.

For the past several weeks, some natives have received calls from someone claiming to be a Microsoft provider seeking to fix a problem with the computer. In the end, if locals allow the caller access to their computer, only two options are available: either pay the hacker or allow the thief to delete important documents off the computer.

"They will try to get everything. For the Microsoft hack, that is definitely local because they're pretty much going through a list of 325 numbers. So, it's localized," stated Officer Zach Upton.

Even if citizens realized during the phone call it is not a legitimate call, it could be too late.

"If you unplug your computer and plug it back in, they still have access to your computer. Some people say they turn it off thinking that would keep them away from it. As soon as you turn it back on again, they can access it again as long as it has that Internet connection," explained Upton.

Upton believes disconnecting from the Internet or changing the computer's IP address could lose the hackers.

"People who work at businesses with IT departments have seen this before...What it does is they tell you you have a virus on your computer and they need access to your computer in order to get the virus off," said Upton.

Apparently, most of the time, the scammers are oversees and use a computer program to call random numbers. Once someone picks up the phone, that is when the hacker begins the scam.

There is not a timetable on how long the scam will remain in the San Angelo area. It could be anywhere from weeks to months before the con leaves the area.

"It's just cycling around different spots of the country and its made its way here. Usually, these type of things stick around for a couple of weeks. But, it could be 6 months before it comes back again, it could be a few years," finished Upton.

In the meantime, Upton encourages residents to be cautious when answering the phone and not to allow someone else access to your computer or laptop.
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