The state Attorney General’s Office is issuing a scam alert after several Kentuckians reported losing money to two computer virus scams.
In the last two months, the attorney general’s office has received complaints from Kentuckians in Daviess, Fayette, Franklin, Jefferson, and Johnson counties with losses totaling more than $92,000.
A Jefferson County victim alone lost $89,000 and, so far, hasn't been able to recover the stolen funds.
The scam occurs when a victim is using their computer and a fictitious pop-up window appears saying there’s a virus and to seek help by calling a 1-800 number. After dialing the number, the victim is connected to a scammer who pretends to assist, but is really only collecting computer login credentials so they can steal personal and financial information.
Attorney General Andy Beshear says scammer prey on a victim’s fear of losing the information on their computer.
“These scammers won’t clean your hard drive, but they will clean out your bank account,” said Beshear in a statement. “Just as we wouldn’t give a stranger a key to our homes, Kentuckians should never give a stranger access to their personal computers.”
In a separate scam, someone posing as a Microsoft tecchnician called to assist a victim with their computer and instructed them to buy Googe Play cards to pay for technical assistance. The Franklin County victim lost $2,900.
For anyone who suspects their computer is infected with a virus or malware, Beshear advises updating your security software and operating system or visit a company that you know and trust for assistance. Also, computer users should never call a phone number or click a link from a pop-up message or unfamiliar email.