Special Assignment

Crooks find a new way to scam people frustrated with technology

CREATED Aug 20, 2013 - UPDATED: Aug 20, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - When your computer is broken, you just want it fixed. So when someone says they're with Microsoft and they can help you, you're inclined to say 'yes' and 'please'! But a high tech scam that's sweeping across the country left one Milwaukee man not saying 'thank you'.

Like most of us, Reverend Charles Jordan relies on his computer. It's essential for the work he does with his church.   So when it started to run a little slow he was relieved when he got a phone call from someone saying they were with Microsoft and could fix the problems.
"When they called I said 'Oh, wow. Somebody going to fix it right away,'" says Reverend Jordan.
The caller told the reverend his computer was in need of a new license. He just needed to pay for the license and give the caller access to his computer through the internet.
"So now he's working on my computer.  I don't even have access anymore.  He's doing whatever he does to my computer," recalls Jordan.
Reverend Jordan says this happened three times and each time the Microsoft impostor had access to everything on his computer.
"They're calling me back over and over again. I said, I thought you fixed this thing?" remembers Jordan.
Reverend Jordan realized that he was caught in a trap. 
"I said, I know you're a crook now. And I'm praying for you because you're crooked," says Jordan.
The scammers took his money and his private information.
"I feel taken advantage of. I really do," Jordan says.
It's a scam that's happened so often, Microsoft put out a warning on its website warning users not to fall for these tactics.  The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau has received many consumer complaints.
"Do not take a phone call where someone is asking you for any information just because they say they're with Microsoft," advises Randall Hoth, President of the Wisconsin BBB.
If hackers do get in your computer they may have access to your bank accounts, credit cards, and passwords.  At that point, it's important to take steps to protect yourself.
"Make certain that you change passwords and get updated virus protection from a service provider you trust and know." says Hoth.
The reverend learned a tough lesson.  He was out more than $500 when all was said and done.  He offers this simple tip to others out there.
"If somebody calls, hang up. I don't even talk to them just hang up," Jordan says.
If you are having issues with your computer the BBB suggests using a local, reputable company.  You can do a search on their website and get references from people you know.