Old scheme used on Comcast customers

March 8, 2013 8:43:37 PM PST
We have a warning about phone fraud hitting Bay Area residents. Imposters posing as Comcast technicians are calling people telling them they have a virus on their computer.

This is the latest version of an old scheme -- this time imposters are making random calls knowing many of us are Comcast customers. So, when the imposter says he's from Comcast, it sounds legitimate. A San Rafael man said he believed the lie at first and unfortunately, he paid the price.

Linda and Li Boccia were enjoying an evening at home when Li got a troubling phone call about his computer.

"He said, 'I'm from Comcast and we see that you have not responded to our emails regarding potential viruses,'" said Li.

The caller said Li's computer was in serious danger of a malware attack. That got him worried because he knew his antivirus program might have expired.

"It I had been getting popups from Norton Security saying we need to download some updates," said Li.

The caller directed Li to several websites on his computer. When Li could not access them, the man said it was because his computer was full of viruses.

"I think he pulled out a number like 2,500 viruses and they're slowing everything down. In fact he was pretty melodramatic. 'Wooooo, so many viruses,'" said Li.

The caller said he'd have to fix things, then took control of Li's computer by remote access.

"All told, the call lasted almost an hour," said Linda.

When the man said Li had no virus protection, Li got suspicious. Quietly, Linda contacted their personal computer technician who spotted the fraud right away.

"He said it's a scam, scam, scam. Sooner or later a money number is going to be presented to him to take away problems," said Linda.

That's exactly what happened.

"The fellow insisted, 'Oh, well, here's what we're going to do. We're going to clean out this and that and reinstall?all for the price of $177,'" said Li.

Linda quietly pushed a note in front of her husband's face saying "This is a scam. HANG UP NOW!" It was a little too late.

"The spyware had been planted and the eye in the sky was observing," said Linda.

Their technician later found mal-ware had been installed during that call. The imposter could see Li's bank information and emails. It cost him $90 to clean out the bugs, but the couple says it could have been worse. They managed to wipe out the spyware before anyone got into their bank account, but what about others?

Linda contacted 7 On Your Side asking me to warn you.

"If you can give the information to people so that someone else could avoid it, that's a huge public service," said Linda.

Comcast tells us it will never call you on the phone to help fix a computer problem. The company does provide antivirus protection, but if Comcast detects unusual activity on your account, you'll get an email, never a phone call. And if anyone asks you for money it's a fraud.


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