BBB Warns Oklahomans About 'Dangerous' Computer Scam


Wednesday, March 16th 2016, 5:29 pm
By: Dana Hertneky


Two people face federal charges for hijacking computers, making threats and stealing millions of dollars. One victim from Oklahoma has already come forward and the FBI believes there are more.

Victims said they were working on their computer when a pop-up came up and they clicked on the link or made a phone call believing they were getting technical assistance. One victim was told he had been hijacked by Russian hackers.

"He cursed and said if I didn't act fast my money would all be gone by morning. I am 74 years old and was petrified," he said.  

So, the victims thought they were getting help but instead gave the hijackers remote access to their computer and everything on it.

“They have all your previous addresses, they have access to all your accounts, they know what passwords you’ve been using, you’ve got secure documents that are on there,” said Kitt Letcher, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma.

The Better Business Bureau is working with the FBI to find more Oklahoma victims and warn others of what's happening. They say the hijackers will also hold the computer hostage until you pay them.  And if you don't continue to pay, threats can get increasingly aggressive.

Some victims also reported watching their computer camera turn on, and saw themselves on screen as a voice came through the speakers threatening their life and family.

One woman said when she refused to continue paying she was “verbally attacked with vulgar comments, vulgar comments about my granddaughter (what they would do to my granddaughter and myself) vulgar phone calls, verbally attacking and threatening me. Would come to my home and make my life miserable.”

“It’s a very personal attack, it’s not just you’re going to lose some paper. I know who you are, I know what you look like, I know who your family is.  And now I’m going to personally come after you,” said Letcher.  

If you have been a victim of this scam:

  • Go to a service technician approved by your computer company. It has been reported that the company embeds their programs into your Basic Input Output Systems (BIOS) which means there is no DIY remedy. Click here to find a list of computer technicians accredited by BBB.
  •  File a complaint immediately. Report this incident to http://www.ic3.gov/ and if payment was made by mailing a check go here https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/. This information will assist law enforcement officials.
  • Contact service provider. Make your computer company aware of the situation. Some companies have created cybercrime units to look into scams of this nature.
  • Change all passwords. Especially any accounts you may have accessed on your computer.
  • Monitor bank activity. Alert your bank to the fraudulent activity and monitor statements closely.

To protect yourself from scammers attempting to access your computer:

  • Don’t give out personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller. Hang up and call your service provider. Do not rely on caller id which is easily spoofed.
  • Never grant remote access to unknown parties. Scammers will routinely try to use high pressure tactics to convince you to let them in. Don’t.
  • Routinely update all operating systems. Be consistent about updating your web browser software, operating system, firewall and anti-virus software regularly.
  • Cut ties with any company that insists you can only use them. All companies pride themselves on customer service and understand a consumer has options. Once a company demands loyalty, walk away.