Cape Elizabeth residents lose over $100,000 to tech support scam

1 min read

CAPE ELIZABETH — Cape Elizabeth Police Department issued a scam alert after multiple reports of residents falling victim to the Microsoft Tech Support Scam, with losses totaling over $100,000 since April 4.

The scam involves a fraudulent pop-up window on the user’s computer, claiming “Microsoft Computer has been blocked,” and prompting the user to call a listed phone number for support.

Upon calling, individuals are connected to scammers who attempt to solicit money or personal information.

Authorities warn that Microsoft would never block a user’s computer, and contacting the number on the pop-up can lead to granting remote computer access to the scammers.

Victims are often asked to pay for nonexistent services, which could result in their device being infected with malware or their personal data being stolen.

Scammers frequently request payment through gift cards or cryptocurrency, a major red flag.

The Cape Elizabeth Police Department emphasizes four key signs to recognize a scam:

1. Impersonation of familiar organizations, sometimes using real names like government agencies or utility companies, with the aid of technology to falsify caller ID information.

2. Claims of problems or prizes, including fake debts, family emergencies, computer viruses, or false winnings requiring payment of fees.

3. High-pressure tactics urging immediate action to prevent verification of their claims or threats of legal action or deportation.

4. Specific payment methods, such as cryptocurrency, wire transfers, payment apps, or gift cards, and occasionally sending fake checks asking the victim to send money back.

Residents are advised to remain vigilant and skeptical of unsolicited calls or messages that fit these patterns.

The police urge anyone who encounters such a scam to report it to the authorities immediately.

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