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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

‘Google’ scam hits Main Arm resident

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A Main Arm resident recently got more than he bargained for when he clicked on a link to an adult website.

Echonetdaily reader ‘Mark’ rang to warn readers to watch out for the new scam, which is a variation of the now well known ‘Windows’ scam.

Mark said that when he clicked on the link it brought up what looked like a Google error page, completed with an authentic looking logo and seemingly bona fide ‘error code’.

‘The page told me to call Google on a 1800 number,’ Mark said.

‘I should’ve realised it was a scam because the number answered straight away.’

Mark said the operator, who had an Indian accent, told him ‘bad guys had infected my computer’.

‘The guy already had access to my computer and took control of my mouse, showing me where these bad cookies supposedly were.’

‘He said he could fix it for me for $300.

Mark said the penny finally dropped and he declined the man’s offer but it is still costing him $100 to get his computer cleaned by a reputable firm in Mullumbimby.

‘I’m still getting stuff removed as we speak,’ he told Echonetdaily.

Mark said he had since seen a segment about the scam on TV and warned local users not to fall for it.

‘A lot of people who store their passwords on their computer find their bank accounts emptied, ’ he said.

According to the ACC’s Scamwatch website, what Mark experienced is typical of so-called ‘malware’ attacks.

‘Malware scammers send emails and social media messages at random with links purporting to be videos on something topical—news, an event or something “interesting”,’ the website states.

‘If you click on the link you may be taken to a fake website that looks like the real deal, complete with logos and branding of legitimate sites. In order to view the video, you will be asked to install some software, such as a ‘codec’, to be able to access the video format. If you download the software, your computer will be infected with malware (malicious software),’ Scamwatch warns.

‘Another way of delivering a malware scam is through websites and pop-ups that offer “free” file downloads, including music, movies and games, or free access to content, such as adult sites.

‘Malware scams work by installing software on your computer that allows scammers to access your files or watch what you are doing on your computer. ‘Scammers use this information to steal your personal details and commit fraudulent activities. They may make unauthorised purchases on your credit card, or use your identity to open accounts such as banking, telephone or energy services. They might take out loans or carry out other illegal business under your name, or even sell your information to other scammers for further illegal use,’ Scamwatch warns.

For more information or to report a scam go to the Scamwatch website.


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