Lincoln man loses thousands in computer scam

(Madeline Cuddihy)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 11:15 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 11:17 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln Police Department says an elderly man lost thousands of dollars in a computer scam.

Sunday evening, LPD officers were contacted regarding a computer scam. LPD said the victim, an 85-year-old man reported that he’d had difficulty connecting a new printer to his computer, so he searched the model in Google and found a link for assistance.

According to the victim’s family, the man clicked on the link and a chat window popped up, asking if assistance was needed. The victim then replied in the chat window.

The victim was later notified of multiple withdrawals from his checking account totaling $25,000, according to police.

Avoid Getting Scammed

The Better Business Bureau warns of tech support scams in which scammers pose as support employees of well-known computer companies and hassle victims into paying for their “support.”

More: BBB Scam Alert: Top tricks used to scam older adults

  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you are absolutely sure it is the representative of a computer support team with whom you initiated contact.
  • Legitimate tech support companies don’t make unsolicited phone calls. A popular way for thieves to get in touch with victims is through cold calls. The callers often claim to be from a tech company. Scammers can spoof official-looking phone numbers, so don’t trust Caller ID.
  • Look out for warning screens: Nearly half of tech support scams begin with an alert on the victim’s computer screen. This pop-up will have a phone number to call for help. Instead, disconnect from the internet and Wi-Fi by shutting off the device. Restart it and run an antivirus scan.
  • Be wary of sponsored links. When searching online for tech support, look out for sponsored ads at the top of the results list. Many of these links lead to businesses that scam consumers.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unfamiliar emails. Scammers also use email to reach victims. These messages point consumers to scam websites that launch pop-ups with fake warnings and phone numbers.