PALMYRA, Mo. (WGEM) – A Palmyra, Missouri, woman had a warning Thursday for consumers after she bought a laptop, then almost fell victim to scammers.
Madonna Watters said she bought a laptop for her non-profit organization, Val’s Pals, three weeks ago from Amazon.
“I always have felt it’s very safe to purchase on Amazon,” Watters said.
But she never thought she’d be a target in a tech support scam.
“I opened up my email yesterday morning and saw that I had an email from Geek Squad and that I was going to be charged for my one-year subscription to Geek Squad for like $351 and some odd cents. So it’s looked very real,” Watters said.
Watters said she didn’t purchase anything from Geek Squad.
“I said, ‘So how do I cancel this? If you can’t tell me my card? If you can’t tell me an invoice number or something? What can we do?’ And he’s like, ‘Well, you’re gonna have to get on your computer so I can walk you through it’,” Watters said.
She said immediately she knew something was wrong and ended the call.
Quincy Better Business Bureau Regional Director Don O’Brien said tech support scams like this try to take control of your computer.
“The danger is they can do anything they want. They can put on malware. They could put on spyware and spyware actually just kind of monitors whenever you’re online,” O’Brien said.
He said that can lead to identity theft and can give scammers access to your banking information.
“If you’re to purchase something from Amazon or from Best Buy or whatever the company might be, that correspondence should come from @amazon.com or @BestBuy,” he said.
If it isn’t, it’s a red flag and could be a scammer. Watters hopes other people don’t fall victim like she almost did.
“My problem is, when I talked to my husband, who’s not [a] big computer person, he was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I would have thought about that.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Well, there could be a lot of people [like that]’,” Watters said.
O’Brien said there are ways you can tell if notifications about warranties and subscriptions are real. He said those choices are made during the checkout process before you pay.
He said you shouldn’t receive random offers weeks after you’ve already made your purchase.
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