Computer scam steals thousands from Austintown woman - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Computer scam steals thousands from Austintown woman

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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio -

An Austintown woman lost $3,400 in a computer scam on Tuesday. 

A 68-year-old woman spoke with Austintown police and told them she got a call from a restricted number at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. 

She told police the caller said they were working with the government to repair personal computers that have been hacked. 

The woman gave the caller access to her computer through the internet. 

She told authorities the caller then told her to go to Walmart and purchase $3,400 worth of gift cards in order to install software on her computer to fix the problem. 

She purchased the gift cards with a credit card and gave the gift card numbers to the caller, who then removed the funds from the cards.

The woman told police her credit card company advised her to file a police report in hopes that she may get her money back.

The woman said the scammer still calls her from a restricted number and asks for funds to fix her computer, but she has stopped responding. 

Scams like this are relatively common. 

Just this week, a different woman lost hundreds of dollars in a Facebook scam

The Federal Trade Commission has an entire page dedicated to online scams similar to the two that happened in Austintown this week. 

According to the FTC, these scams often start as phone calls from people that say they work for the government or a popular company like Microsoft or Apple. 

They then ask for full access to your personal computer. 

From there, the scammers diagnose a fake problem and request money in the form of gift cards as payment. 

The FTC recommends people don't click suspicious links, give up control of your computer or send money to someone online you don't know personally. 

If you were scammed, get rid of any malware your computer may have by downloading legitimate safety software, change your passwords and call your credit card company if you paid for a service. 

The FTC also warns that occasionally scammers will call you back after you purchased a service and offer to refund you. They'll request your bank or credit card account number and tell you they're giving your money back. 

But instead of putting money into your account, they take it out. 

Anyone that experiences an online scam is advised to report it to the FTC.
 

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