GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Rickey Latch knows his way around a computer, a so-called computer whiz. He says more and more local residents have recently been receiving suspicious phone calls.
"They're hearing that Microsoft is calling them, and the people state that someone is trying to access their computer," said Latch.
He says it's not Microsoft. It is someone trying to scam you.
"When these people get into their computer, they do it through an access, a remote call-in. Once they get into your computer, they have control of your computer," said Latch. "They can install and almost tell you anything. Most people believe anything they hear, and it ends up costing the elderly people $200, and $200 on a fixed income is a lot of money."
Latch said he has had to repair at least 35 computers infected with various viruses over the last month.
"If someone calls you and tells you that your computer is about to get accessed, how do they know that? How are they in your computer already and seeing your computer?" said Latch.
Latch says the best thing to do if you get a suspicious phone call is to hang up.
When I was meeting with Latch, a pop-up jumped on the screen of the computer he was working on. The pop-up had no "x" to close it, only an accept. Latch says don't click on accept.
"The average person is going to panic, and they're going to click 'fix it.' They have just bought a $200 program or a $150 program," said Latch. "Now we have ransom ware. Ransom ware goes in and it actually takes over your computer. The best thing to do, instead of clicking 'no' or the 'x,' do Alt-F4 and it will shut down that page. Then you can open up your Internet again and go back to something else."
Microsoft is aware of these scams and addressed it on the company's website by offering a free fix. Go to Microsoft Consumer Support Center and download the Microsoft Safety Scanner that removes the viruses, spyware and other malicious software.
If that doesn't work, bring your computer to a local computer store.
If you continue to receive bogus phone calls involving your computer, contact the State Attorney General's office at 601-359-3680, and ask for the Cyber Crime division.