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Online crooks nearly cost family dear

Tuesday, 10th May, 2011

Computer owners are being warned of a scam now running in the Broken Hill area Computer owners are being warned of a scam now running in the Broken Hill area

By Darrin Manuel

Computer owners are warned to be vigilant against a group that appears to be running a computer scam in the Broken Hill area.

The BDT has received two calls from locals who were contacted by phone by men with a thick Indian accent, offering to fix computer problems for a fee.

Monica Shearman said her husband Harvey received a call on Saturday from a man claiming to be a representative of Microsoft.

The fake Microsoft official said his company had received an indication that there were viruses on the Shearmans' computer, and could clear them for a fee of $308.

Mr Shearman was directed to a "very official-looking" internet site and asked to enter a password and give card details.

Mrs Shearman said her husband was "technologically challenged", and although he handed over two sets of credit card details, he made errors in the process.

The group immediately set about completing the gaps in the family's credit card details, and before long there were repeated attempts to charge $7,000 to the cards.

Mrs Shearman said her family was particularly lucky as the attempts to charge the cards were noticed by her daughter Lara, who works for the Commonwealth Bank in Victoria.

Other people, she said, might not be so lucky.

"I think people need a warning... as soon as they get your credit card they go in for big dough," she said.

"They're very, very insistent and their site looks very official. It has Commonwealth Bank logos and everything.

"If they get someone as befuddled as my husband it can cost them quite a bit."

Mrs Shearman said her family had reported the scam to local police. 

It appears similar to one that has been reported across Australia, the UK and the USA since 2010.

Computer owners are reminded that Microsoft will never contact Windows owners in relation to tech support.

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