Fort Pierre nearly caught up by a computer scam

FORT PIERRE, S.D.(DRGNews)- A Fort Pierre resident came close to losing $30-thousand dollars after their computer locked up last week.

A source close to the situation told DRG Media Group News the person called the phone number that appeared on the computer screen, thinking it was technical support for Microsoft. The individual was kept on the phone for several hours, withdrew $30-thousand from their account and started to send the money to the person on the phone using a coin cloud machine at a local convenience store.

While in the process of putting money into the machine, an alert store clerk asked the person if they were in trouble. The comment caused the individual to stop what they were doing and realize they were falling victim to a scam.

Jody Gillespie, Consumer Protection Director with the South Dakota Attorney General’s office, says variations of the Microsoft scam have been around for quite a while.

She says certain features are standard on all computers and scammers use that information to get access to your computer.

Gillespie says scammers keep you on the phone for hours, not only giving them access to any personal information they can find on your computer, but also creating a sense of urgency to keep the victim from realizing what’s happening.

Gillespie is glad the store clerk asked the customer if there was a problem.

Gillespie says people can always call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division to report a scam attempt or to report falling victim to a scam. The number is 1-800-300-1986.