News

Telemarketer threatens to bomb house, slit throats

IMAGINE receiving a phone call from a telemarketer wanting to fix your computer, then threatening to blow up your house and slit the throats of your family.

This was all a terrifying reality for one Warwick mother who was vigilant enough to know she was being scammed and tried to put a stop to it.

The woman, who didn't want to be identified, said the man even recited her address.

"I knew his game as soon as I answered the phone, he said he was from Microsoft and he wanted to fix my computer," she told the Daily News.

"I told him I knew what he was trying to do and I wasn't going to do anything he asked.

"He immediately got violent and said 'I know you live at, listed my address, and I will place a bomb under your house'."

The woman said her aunt had recently been the centre of a similar scam.

"My aunt unfortunately followed their instructions and they wiped her computer," she said.

"It all sounded very familiar and that's why I told the man I wouldn't have a bar of it.

"I hung up on him and he called back five times, each time the threats got worse."

The man continued to tell the woman in more vulgar terms he would "sleep with" her dead corpse after he had slit her throat.

"I don't know how they can look at themselves in the mirror," she said.

"I called the police and they said the man was likely from overseas and couldn't harm me.

"I also complained to Telstra, because my number is on a block list and I shouldn't be receiving these calls."

In a bid to raise awareness of these scams, the woman decided she needed to share her story.

"I lay awake wondering 'what if I had followed his directions?'" she said.

"What if it was an older person he had phoned? Imagine how scared they would have been.

"It's a real wake up call for people to be careful."

John Wode from Warwick Computer Support and Repairs said scams like these were becoming more and more common.

"They either say they are from Microsoft and Telstra and want to help you resolve an issue," he said.

"They are trying to get permission to access your computer and then they will have you download software so they can access whatever they like.

"Most of them don't know who they are calling; they just try random numbers because 90% of Australia has computers."

Mr Wode said if they do have your details, they have most likely looked it up in the White Pages.

"They can type in a number and find a name and location," Mr Wode said.

"Even if your number is on a block list, they can still call via the internet, like Skype calls.

"I get phone calls every day from people trying to scam me or sell me something, I just tell them I don't have a computer or hang up."

Mr Wode said another scam proving to be quite vicious at the moment encrypts computer files.

"It comes as an email and will have an attachment saying it's an invoice or something similar," he said.

"The second you open it, it freezes everything on the computer and then they will ask for $30 to send you the unlock code.

"You're not guaranteed to get the right code either."

Mr Wode said a local accounting business had recently been a target.

"It's important to back up your files, but make sure you don't leave the USB or hard drive plugged into the computer, otherwise they will be wiped as well."

Scam savvy

 Tell them you don't own a computer

 Don't open emails or attachments from people you don't know

 Don't pay money to have encrypted files fixed, take it to your local computer technician

 Don't leave back up drives plugged into the computer

 Visit www.scamwatch.gov.au for more tips and tricks on how to avoid or report a scam

Topics:  editors picks, scam, telemarketing



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