Woman's computer hijacked by mystery caller

Man claimed to be with Microsoft
Jul. 26, 2013 @ 08:31 AM

Michelle Bumgarner recently lost her job at Case Farms, and now she can't get into her home computer to look for work after what she feels was a scam that ensnared her Tuesday.

A man called her house in Hudson that night claiming to be from Microsoft and saying he could see in the network that her computer was showing errors, Bumgarner said. He offered to fix malware that was causing the problem. She allowed him access remotely to her computer. Immediately, windows and error messages started popping up. She asked him for the number he was calling from. It was a legitimate Microsoft phone number.

"He asked me for my IP address, and said it had been hacked," she added. "He offered anti-hacking software for $148 for three-year protection, $240 for eight years, and $400 for lifetime support. When I told him I couldn't afford that because I had just lost my job, he got very mad and told me to log out and shut down. I got scared and turned it off completely."

She waited a few minutes and turned it back on. All she got was a black screen and a message to enter a password. She never needed a password before, she said.

She called the man back.

"He said he couldn't let me have access to my computer until they fixed it," she said.

Bumgarner now fears personal information may have been compromised.

Bumgarner also does her banking online, so she spent Wednesday closing her accounts and opening new ones, and changing passwords. She said she also filed a report with the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office.

Bumgarner said her bank had heard of the scam. They urged to to freeze her accounts and reset her emails.

"The feeling you have is that when someone comes in and does this to you, it makes you really mad," she said. "I feel a little more secure knowing they can't get my personal information now."

Unless they already have.

"My hope is when the realized my accounts were closed or deleted, they gave up," Bumgarner said.

On Thursday, she took the computer to Best Buy in Hickory. She told them what had happened. They told her whoever got into her computer infected it with a virus. They also told her the story was familiar.

"Before I could finish, they said they knew what I was talking about," she said. "They said they had worked on lots of computers from people who also got the Microsoft call."