Scammers aim to take control of your computer, then your money

by: Greg Suskin Updated:


ROCK HILL, S.C. - Susan Grubb told Channel 9 she's angry at herself following a bizarre phone call Wednesday morning.

"Last night, I was a wreck, a total wreck about it," she said.

She runs a business from her home, and was in her home office when the phone rang.

She said a man called pretending to be from the Windows Care Department of Microsoft, and told her he needed access to her computer immediately to fix a dangerous virus on it.

"I feel ashamed that I let it happen to me. I feel embarrassed," Grubb said.

Believing it was legitimate, she tapped a few keys and gave the caller control of her laptop. She noticed they appeared to be taking files.

She said she could hear background noise that sounded like a large call center, and it all felt very official.

However, after a few minutes the man asked for her credit card numbers, address and other personal information, and the red flag went up.

"I said, 'Well, I'm not going to give it to you,' and he said, 'Well, you won't have your computer back.' I said, 'I've got my computer. It's right here.' He said, 'But you'll never get back in it,'" Grubb said.

They argued, and she hung up the phone, but not before the crook had changed the password to her computer, locking her out.

Channel 9 called the number with an Alabama area code that Grubb was called from, but it had been disconnected.

"I'm angry is what I am, and I think people need to know that this could happen to them," she said.

It took 10 hours on the phone Wednesday for Grubb to call her bank, credit card company and credit bureaus trying to minimize any damage.

She also contacted police. At this point, she doesn't know what was compromised, but she's watching her accounts.

Rock Hill police said a computer or software company like Microsoft will never call you if you haven't called them first. They also will not ask for personal information.

Grubb just wanted to let others know to be careful.

"With computers now, everything you have is out there," she said.

To see more local news stories, click here.