Town Crier

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.

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