Webster man fights phone scammer
Updated: Friday, February 28 2014, 08:01 AM EST
Webster, N.Y. -- The Attorney General’s Office released a warning about the Microsoft Windows Service Center scam last week, but it continues to be a problem.
“It was such a violation to have someone call me in my home and represent themselves as someone caring about me and wanting to help me,” said Parker Zack of Webster after being targeted in the scam.
Here is how the scam works -- claiming to be with Microsoft Service, the caller says someone has hacked onto your computer.
In order to protect the personal information on your computer, the caller says he or she needs to gain remote access to the computer.
Once you let them in, they have full access to the information and can take over the computer.
“They're walking me through the steps, they want to sit down with me and go through all of those steps and steal my money, lock me out of my own computer, hijack my information," Zack said.
It all started with a phone call from an unknown number Saturday evening.
“That was scary because when I picked up the phone he said 'Hello, Mr. Zack,'" he said. "He knew my name.”
The conversation went like this:
CALLER: "I’m directly calling from Microsoft Windows Service. It’s about your computer, OK?"
PARKER ZACK: "OK."
CALLER: "So we received information and error messages that somebody tried to hack your computer is (inaudible) towards the internet (inaudible) standard hacking software (inaudible) which is hampering and damaging for your computer hard drive and the windows software system. OK?"
CALLER: "So just take your time, go ahead and switch on your computer and then I help you and guide you through the simple steps over the phone to show you the problems with the computer, OK?"
PARKER ZACK: "I’m listening."
CALLER: "Alright, so just take your time. Go ahead and switch on your computer sir."
PARKER ZACK: "I’m glad you called because the police in this area are looking for you and this is very helpful for us to, uh, have you arrested for this…"
CALLER: "Then shut up you [expletive], I’m going to [expletive] your dirty family. You son of a [expletive], you know? Uh, what I’m going to do very shortly is I’m going to [expletive] your dirty family. I will give you a new brother, OK?"
Zack said he knew right away what was really happening because his friend fell for the very same scam a few weeks ago.
“They're not just aggressive and persistent," Zack said."Tthey're evil, they're nasty, they're hateful."
After he called the caller out, Zack said he thought he’d just hang up.
“It was absolutely shocking to me,” Zack said. “The language was so vile.”
Shaken by the scam attempt and verbal assault, Zack called 911.
“I thought wait a minute, this is a person who has threatened me, tried to steal my money, threatened me and my family, and it needs to be reported,” he said.
But Zack said an officer told him there wasn’t much police could do.
Scams typically originate overseas or across state lines.
Out of local law enforcement’s jurisdiction, the scammers are difficult to track down and the money is usually not recovered.
Police encouraged people to call 911 if they think they’ve been scammed. After so many calls come in to report one scam, authorities notify the Attorney General’s Office and a warning is issued.
Zack said something more needs to be done to protect people from scams like this one.
“Technology has given birth to all this stuff," he said. "It’s new, we don’t have systems in place to deal with it and we need to find those solutions.”