MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – Randall Wilder owns Town North Electronics, one of the oldest businesses in Collin County. It’s an electronic-turned-computer repair shop in McKinney that he says is inundated with cries for help right now.
“I’d say between five and 10 [customers] just recently called me.”
His customers say cyber criminals are calling them pretending to be from software companies. The thieves say they’ve received warnings from your computer about a virus.
“It started with people calling in and claiming they are from Microsoft or Norton or somebody saying how bad your computer is infected and they want access to your computer.”
But what they really want is “access” to your credit cards and your personal information.
Eighty-miles away, just outside of Decatur, Carmon Blassingane and her son, Caleb Hurley, also got two calls.
“He just kept saying you have a bug on your computer,” explained Hurley.
“He was very adamant. I’m with Windows tech support. I will walk you through every step. I need you to go to your computer,” said Blassingane.
Blassingane is the prime target for these type of attacks according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3, report released last month by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center. The report finds more than 82 percent of complainants are age 20 to 50 years old; more women than men. Fourteen percent were age 60 or older Just more than three percent were under the age of 20.
The study shows Texas has the third most complaints in the country. Only California and Florida have more.
IC3 describes several new attacks. Hackers aren’t just impersonating software companies such as Blassingane experienced. Cyber criminals are also using intimidation tactics. They’ve claimed to be authorities. They’ve spoofed names such as FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The report says some thieves have become brazen enough to show up at your front door. They’ll claim to be process servers there to serve you papers. Then, they’ll ask for your debit card as payment.
And there are scarier tactics. Scammers are claiming to belong to international terrorist groups. Some people have received emails telling them a hit man has been hired to kill them or stage their deaths if they don’t send money.
Computer gurus like Wilder are now trying to fight the attacks, but last year alone, nearly 300,ooo people nationwide complained about these internet crimes.
“You just feel they are penetrating your home. [It’s] scary!” says Blassingane.
A spokesperson with the FBI says she doesn’t know why North Texas is seeing an increase in cyber-attacks right now. She did tell the I-Team it seems like “certain regions are hit with certain crimes at the same time.”
For more information on the IC3 2012 report or to file a complaint about an internet crime, click here for the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
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