Broome County Sheriffs have issued a warning pertaining to a Microsoft Windows Virus Alert scam which has affected one local resident to the tune of $13,000.

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When in doubt, ask a professional before taking action. This is the best course of action whenever something seems to be off, especially things dealing with an electronic device.

In a post to their Facebook page, Broome County Sheriff’s Office tells the story of an older woman who visited their office to report that she had been the victim of a Microsoft Windows virus scam. An image took over the screen of the victim’s computer telling her that she was locked out for security reasons and prompted her to call a particular number for support in unlocking her computer.

The woman called the number on the pop-up and spoke with two people who she told the sheriff’s office sounded reliable. The individuals asked her to purchase gift cards and give them the numbers off of the gift cards. The woman complied and now, she is out nearly $13,000.

If you run into a situation where a Microsoft Windows Virus Alert pops up on your computer, whatever you do, do not call the number listed on your screen. This is a clever new tech scam that targets unsuspecting users who are terrified everything on their machine will be lost if they don’t call the number in the pop-up box.

In most cases, there is no virus but the victim isn’t aware of this and they end up paying a scammer to remove a fake virus from their machine. Worse yet, sometimes victims grant access to their computers believing that the scammer needs remove access to fix their computer. When a scammer obtains full access to a computer, they are often quick to steal both personal and financial information.

Broome County Sheriffs warn, "Please never give out personal information. Always second guess any "pop-ups." Give your computer to a trusted computer repair shop if you feel that it has been compromised."

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