PRINCETON – A resident of Bureau County recently received an unsolicited telephone call from an individual offering to analyze and repair their family computer.
According to the resident, the caller spoke with a strong foreign accent and stated for a fee, he could remotely connect to the residential computer and correct or repair any existing problems.
Fortunately, the resident recognized the call to be a scam and a potential threat and hung up on the caller. The resident immediately filed a report with the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff John Thompson confirmed instances like this lead to families being victims of financial crimes.
“The solicitation of a ‘fee’ for a service can lead to people accessing, sharing and selling your personal and private information that is contained within your computer,” he said. “Even if they don’t access your computer, they can manipulate unknowing victims into paying for a service that has not been performed.”
Thompson said most of the time callers will get people on the phone and entice them with offers that seem reasonable. Once a caller is able to catch a person’s attention, they make up a reason why they cannot travel to the house but say they can access the computer over the phone. Before this they might ask for a credit card number to continue or a Social Security number. Thompson said this request is a red flag that it’s a scam.
“Do not accept unsolicited offers for services of any nature,” said Thompson.
Thompson said most victims of scams are people who are afraid to offend callers by hanging up on them, or if they are approached in public, they become afraid to say no face-to-face.
“Whether telephonic or personal contact, we recommend you strongly inform all solicitors that you are not interested,” he said, adding people need to immediately hang up on all suspicious calls.
Persistent individuals should be referred to their local law enforcement agency or the Bureau County Sheriff. Contact the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office at 815-875-3344, ext. 0, for help and support.
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