Scammers finding a way into your computer

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PHOENIX – It all begins with a simple phone call. The person on the other end says they're with Microsoft and they want you to give them remote access to your computer so they can remove a virus.

Unless you want to be subjected to this popular scam, do not do it.

Like a lot of people, Debbie Marvel's computer is her lifeline to the rest of the world. "I'm on it every day," she says.

Not only does she use it to email family and friends but she also does a lot of personal stuff like banking transactions and paying bills.

When she got a phone call recently from a man who claimed to be with Microsoft, she was somewhat concerned with what he told her.

"He told me that there was a virus that was taking over my computer," Debbie said. "That it had taken over 80 percent of my computer."

The man asked Debbie to log on and, with a couple of clicks, give him remote access into her computer so he could get rid of the virus for her.

"He was very persistent," Debbie said. "I knew he really wanted me to turn on my computer."

Ken Colburn, a representative for the computer repair company Data Doctors, said the phone call Debbie got was from someone who was up to no good.

"If you get a phone call out of the blue, it's a scam," Ken said.

Scammers are infiltrating more and more computers by convincing people they have a virus. They then persuade them into giving them remote access into their computer, Ken said.

Once the infiltrator is in, victims of this scam think they're getting rid of a virus, but they are doing much more sinister things.

"They can actually start to access your email account and figure out where you're banking and then send a bunch of password resets so they can take over your bank accounts," Ken said. "So there is no shortage of things they can do."

Stealing your identity, stealing your money, or stealing anything they can because of a phone call you thought was from Microsoft or another computer giant.

Debbie did the right thing by hanging up on the scammer who called her. Ken said if anyone gets this call, they should do the same.

"The key is, who made the call? If you didn't call for help, then you should be using remote service," Ken said.

To clarify, there is nothing wrong with remote access if you are the one who called for computer assistance but if you get a call from someone who claims to be with Microsoft, or any other company for that matter, hang up.