Scammers extorting money, stealing identities

Police are warning residents about a telephone-based computer scam making the rounds in Port Moody that allows a fraudster to remotely access the information on your computer, extort money and commit identity fraud.

In what’s commonly referred to as the “ammyy scam,” someone claiming to be “remote support care” calls from a reputable computer company, such as Microsoft and tells you there’s a problem with your computer (usually a virus of some sort).

The scammers easily gain your trust by providing you with information such as your name, address or phone number and then requests remote access to your computer to stop it from crashing.

To do this, the scammer will direct you to the website (the program and company have legitimate purposes when used between two trusted parties), have you run the remote tool and give them the ID provided. This gives the scammer complete remote access to your computer, which allows them to download all of your personal information in minutes and upload viruses, malware and key stroke recorders.

Finally, the scammer will also require payment for the removal of the “virus” and ask for your credit card information.

“So far we’ve only had one report but I’m sure other people have gotten these phone calls,” said Port Moody Police Const. Luke van Winkel.

Police recommend the following tips to protect yourself from the scam:

• Companies like Microsoft do not call their customers to report viruses, nor does your internet service provider. Never install, run or allow remote access to a person or company without being completely sure of their identity.

• If you believe the person is a scammer, hang up the phone and call police.

• If you’ve allowed scammers access to your computer immediately turn it off, unplug the internet connection and take the computer to a reputable dealer to be checked for spyware and/or viruses.

• Change your passwords and monitor credit card bills. If you’ve given the scammer your credit card details, call the credit card company to have it cancelled.


In other police news:

A pedestrian is in hospital after being hit in a crosswalk in Port Moody Tuesday night.

At about 10:40 p.m. a 77-year-old man was walking across Moody Street at St. Johns Street when an 80-year-old woman driving a Pontiac Vibe turned left from Moody on to St. Johns and hit the man.

Both the driver and a nearby witness stopped after the accident.

The pedestrian was taken to hospital and is in serious but stable condition; the driver was unhurt. Police do not believe speed, drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash and have not yet determined whether charges will be laid.

Any witnesses are asked to contact Port Moody Police at 604-461-3456.






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