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Computer-Problem Phone Scam Hits New Canaan

One lesson: Don't give out your computer password to some stranger who's calling you on the phone. More lessons below.

A New Canaan resident got taken in by a common scam in which a caller says a victim's computer is in need of an immediate fix. Don't let it happen to you.

The caller -- who had an Indian accent and was very aggressive -- told the victim to give him the password for access to the computer, according to a New Canaan Police news release issued Friday morning.

Once the victim did that, it allowed the scammer to access the computer online, from a remote location. Then computer files were taken.

(If you access your online banking or other financial accounts from your computer, letting someone you don't know have access to the device can potentially leave you vulnerable to identity theft or theft from those accounts. Other private information you keep on that computer may also be accessed.)

The police news release states:

"In addition, communities in Connecticut have experienced other attempted frauds.

"In these incidents, an unknown caller will call a resident and tell them that a family member had been in an accident, or was arrested, or that the family member is being held hostage until the resident wires them money through Stop & Shop or Western Union.

"The suspect caller has been predominantly described as a Hispanic male or male with an accent."

The New Canaan Police Department has this advice:

  1. Never wire money to unknown persons.
  2. Never give personal information(dates of birth, social security numbers, computer passwords, etc.) to unknown persons over the telephone.
  3. Always check information that is provided by the caller to ensure it is accurate and legitimate.
  4. Contact the family member that is mentioned in the call to confirm whether or not the family member is in need of assistance.
  5. Avoid lengthy conversations with the unknown caller, hang up and then contact the police.
  6. Contact our police department at 203-594-3500 and we will assist.

Editor's note: See also this other computer crime problem:

BBB, FTC, FBI Warn of Malware that Takes Computers Hostage

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