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Computer scammers pose as Microsoft tech experts

CREATED Oct 31, 2013

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WAUWATOSA - Scam artists are calling random people in southeast Wisconsin, claiming to be from the IT team at Microsoft, and seizing their computers online.

It happened to Ernie Franzen in Wauwatosa.  Franzen says he was home one night and got a phone call. 
"The reception was really bad. Eventually they got a clear signal and they said they were from Microsoft IT and they wanted to help me correct some problems on my computer," said Franzen
But Franzen wasn't having computer problems and he never called Microsoft for help.  Although he suspected something wasn't right, he initially went along with the caller.
Franzen was instructed to go to his computer and then open a file which showed the error reports his computer had stored.  There were plenty of them.
"The way they catch you is they say, is your computer running slow? Well, whose computer isn't running slow?" said Franzen.
That's when the caller instructed Franzen to download software that would allow them to remotely access his computer.
The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau reports they have received numerous inquiries about this in the last couple of months.
Ran Hoth, the CEO and president of the Wisconsin BBB says once the caller gains that remote access, they then tell you it can't be fixed until you wire them up to $600.  His advice?  Be proactive.
"Build a better firewall, turn off your remote access to your computer, only deal with a professional computer company locally that you know that you can trust," said Hoth.
Franzen wants to be sure no one else ends up in this scam.
"You play along a little bit and then you reach a point and you say, no, no, no I'm not gonna go there," said Franzen.