Beware of possible phone call phishing scams - WNEM TV 5

Beware of possible phone call phishing scams

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The phone call Becky Coyer received just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon brought nothing but trouble. 

The guy on the other end claimed to be from Microsoft Windows Security, and told Coyer that her computer was messed up.

"He made it sound like my computer was causing all these problems over the internet," said Coyer.

He wouldn't go into the details, but said she needed to log on to her computer and download a program to fix it.

"He just, his tone of voice got louder, kind of like he was yelling at me, and he said, 'Ma'am, I need you to go to your computer right now,' and I said, 'No, I don't think so,'" said Coyer.

That's when she realized something wasn't right, so she hung up and did her own research.  She did an internet search of the phone number that appeared on her caller ID and realized she was a target of what she believes is a nationwide scam.

"He was trying to get me to install a program where he can remotely access my computer, which would be like sitting right in front of my computer. Everything, all my personal information, any banking I've done online, anything I've ever done on that computer, he would have had," explained Coyer.

According to Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel, Coyer did the right thing.

"Do your own homework. Don't just take for granted that someone's going to contact you, and they're looking out for you," said Federspiel.

He said the best way to protect yourself is to tell the caller "No, thanks" and then look up the customer service number yourself and call that number directly to see if, in fact, there are any issues.

"Ninety-nine out of 100 times, or 999 out 1,000 times, it is a scam. They're trying to get your personal information. They're trying to hack into your account, or hack into your computer, and it can cause you a lot of problems," said Federspiel.

The number that tried to scam Coyer is (288) 918-6555. TV5 tried to call the number, and it was disconnected. TV5 also called Microsoft on Tuesday night and did not get a response, but according to its website, this is a common scamming technique.

To read Microsoft's warning of potential scams, click here.

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