March is Fraud Prevention Month and with the COVID-19 pandemic, online fraud has been happening more frequently than ever. The Review spoke with Yves Bédard, owner of Bedtek Computers in Vankleek Hill, about how to keep your computer safe and protect yourself from online scammers.
Yves Bédard has seen the scenario many times: A customer comes in with a computer that has been hijacked, along with their Facebook account, email and other accounts. It’s almost always the same story.
“Usually they got a pop-up warning on their computer and then shortly afterwards, someone from ‘Microsoft’ called,” says the owner of Bedtek Computers in Vankleek Hill, as he rolls his eyes. “They tell you there is an issue with your computer, but they are here to help.”
The two-stage scam is extremely common online says Bédard, who emphasizes that no one should ever give out information on the phone to someone who has called them, or grant them access to their computer. But the scammers prey on the vulnerable and are very good at using fear tactics to convince their victims that it is urgent they be given immediate access.
“(They’ll) say you could lose all your family photos, but don’t worry, they are here to help you out,” Bédard says. “They’re going fishing and hopefully, you’ll bite.”
Once the hacker is into a laptop or desktop computer, they have complete control of the machine. Often they will claim to have fixed the issue, the victim will hang up…