Phone scam circulating in Cowichan
Here's a good rule of thumb: if someone calls to let you know your computer has a virus and you should do exactly as the caller tells you, hang up.
The warning comes after the resurfacing of a year-old phone scam in the Cowichan Valley.
"They call about once a week, and say they're from either Microsoft or Windows System Rescue," said Cowichanian Twila Reardon.
"They basically tell you that you have a virus and your computer will crash and you'll lose everything unless you follow their directions."
Those directions, of course, will cost you — and that's not even counting whatever bugs they manage to plant on your computer.
"Another time, they told me my computer was running really slow, and they wanted me to go to my computer and start pressing buttons," Reardon said.
"Every time they call I let them know that I know it's a scam, and they're still calling me, so they must be getting a lot of people here. This has been going on for a couple of months, and recently we've been getting a call every week."
Cowichan Community Policing Society manager Carol-Ann Rolls is familiar with the scam, which first started targetting Cowichanians last year.
"Don't respond with any of the information they're asking for," she said. "Particularly personal information, such as bank and credit card information."
Rolls also noted a similar scam circulating via email.
"People get messages about their mailboxes exceeding the limit, and are asked to click (on a link) and enter their information," she explained.
In these cases, Rolls recommends deleting the message, and then removing it from the deleted email folder as well.
"If you're concerned that the information on your computer may have been compromised," she added, "phone your service provider directly."