The Yolo County District Attorney's Office is warning computer users of phone calls from scam artists pretending to represent well-known companies like Microsoft, Dell or Norton.
In the past week, several Yolo County residents have reported receiving calls from people claiming to be with "tech support" and saying they need access to the individual's personal computer to remove a virus or maintain the warranty.
Last week, a scammer contacted a retired Yolo County employee telling her that her computer warranty was about to expire. The caller pressured her for more than 30 minutes to accept the service, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.
Officials said the scammers usually ask for a credit card number to pay for the "repair." The typical amount ranges from $50 to several hundred dollars.
"If you allow these callers to remotely access your computer they can quickly cause significant damage by installing programs such as spyware and keystroke readers," District Attorney Jeff Reisig said in a written statement. "These crooks can gain access to everything on your computer like email contact lists, bank account information and secret passwords."
Officials urged computer users to be wary of any phone call or email from someone claiming that there is a problem with the computer and he or she can fix it. People are advised to independently verify that the caller is legitimate before giving out sensitive information or control of the computer. Officials note that caller ID can be manipulated to look like a local number.
For more information on how to recognize and avoid being scammed via phone, computer or mail, call the District Attorney's Office at (530) 666-8416.