Attorney General Roy Cooper: Computer scams keep popping up

Two computer scams we’ve warned you about before appear to be on the upswing again.

Phony tech support: You get a call from someone who claims to be tech support from Microsoft or another legitimate company. They say they’ve detected a virus or other problem on your computer, then try to con you into letting them take control of the computer remotely to fix the problem. Actually there’s no issue with your computer, and your problems are just beginning if you allow them access to it.

Phony federal agents: These scammers pretend to be with the FBI or the US Department of Justice. They lock down your computer so it can’t operate, and post a message on your screen that you’ve been caught with child pornography or committed another criminal act like copyright infringement.  You’ll be arrested if you don’t pay them a $200-300 fine within 48 hours via PayPal or Green Dot Money Pak, the scammers threaten, and your computer will remain locked down until you do. The trouble with your computer is real–it was caused by the scammers and will most likely require a service technician to fix–but law enforcement hasn’t caught you doing anything wrong. Don’t pay the scammer’s ransom.

If you are a victim of either of these scams, file a fraud report with To avoid being a victim, keep your anti-virus software up to date. And remember if you spot a scam anywhere (online or off), you can report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at