WILMINGTON — A Wilmington resident was nearly the victim of a scam, but some quick thinking saved him (and his bank account).
For the past six months, the resident had been receiving phone calls from a California number, 213-784-2839, telling him that a company was offering him a $299 refund. However, the caller, who spoke with a heavy accent, couldn’t identify the company; he could only say it went out of business.
The resident said it sounded plausible enough, so he ended up downloading a program called TeamViewer Automatic, which, unbeknownst to him, gave the caller access to his computer. Once he realized his mistake, he unplugged his computer.
(TeamViewer is proprietary software for remote control, desktop sharing, online meetings, web conferencing, and file transfer between computers.)
The caller tried to get the resident’s bank account information, but was unsuccessful. Eventually, the resident was able to turn his computer back on and delete the program he had downloaded.
This is just one of many scams perpetrated by trolls looking to steal your bank account or credit card information.
The number one scam, according to Wilmington Police Chief Joseph Desmond, involves someone pretending to be from the IRS and telling callers he or she owes money and to pay by gift card (e.g. a Visa Gift Card where the caller would read off the card number, expiration date and the three-digit security code). For the record, the IRS would never call someone or demand anyone pay over the phone. Any interaction with them would be via written letter.
Chief Desmond also said another popular scam involves telling someone their loved one has been locked up and money is needed to free them.
Although the chief noted how difficult it is for the police to stop scammers, since most are calling from outside the United States, he advised residents to call the department regardless if anyone feels they have been the victim of a scam.
“A legitimate company won’t ask you to download a program or send them money,” the chief said as a reminder to anyone who receives such a call.