Scammers holding Valley computers hostage, demanding ramsom to release control

You lock your doors and add home security systems to protect yourself and your belongings.

But, you may still be letting thieves into your home, through your computer.

And it is just like getting robbed.

Scammers end up taking a lot of money.

Every week, I get complaints about scammers calling and posing as techs trying to get into computers.

Or in this case, thieves took over a computer and demanded ransom to release control.

It happened to Jerry Kapsis.

The Sun City man likes to surprise friends with greeting cards. So, he goes to free greeting cards sites to send them.

But Jerry says the last time he did that, he believes he let scammers in.

"I clicked on it and all of a sudden that screen came up," Jerry says.

Interpol and U.S. Cyber Security supposedly found Jerry's computer doing something illegal.

It says he could spend five years in prison unless he spent some money.

Meanwhile, his computer would be held hostage. "It freezes everything you can't click. Everything is dead."

To get the computer back, Jerry had to go to a local store and send a Money Pak.

It was basically like wiring $300 to the scammers.

After he sent them money, his computer worked until a month later.

"I happened to click on a card and the same thing, identical to it," Jerry says.

Scammers wanted another $300  and Jerry paid not knowing what else to do.

"That's a lot of money to lose, especially when you're on a fixed income," he told me.

How could this happen?  

Data Doctor's Ken Colburn says scammers can get in to your computer if you click on an unknown link.

Sometimes that link asks you to update something.

Colburn says don't click on that link.

Instead, go to the company's website.

And if scammers get in anyway, don't pay them.

Take your computer to a professional.

E-mail me with any consumer problem you have or "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.


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