Bainbridge police receive multiple reports of computer phishing scams

The Bainbridge Island Police Department is asking residents to be on the lookout for scam phone calls.

The city was notified Monday that the department has received multiple reports of unsolicited phone calls and emails where the caller offers to protect personal computers from security threats.

Police said the caller uses terms like "Windows," "Help Desk" and "Tech Support" to imply the person works as a Microsoft employee.

The scammer then tells potential victims that a security threat has been discovered and their computer must be reset.

According to Bainbridge police, Microsoft does not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls that seek personal or financial information, nor does the company offer to fix computers over the phone. Microsoft officials advise that potential victims delete these type of emails or hang up the phone.

The Bainbridge police department is asking residents who suspect that they are a victim to such "phishing" scams to take a series of steps to minimize any damage:

Change your passwords or PINs for any online account you think might be compromised.

Place a fraud alert on your credit report (your bank or financial advisor can help you).

Never use links embedded in email messages to visit your bank websites or the sites of online merchants, especially if you suspect the email may be fraudulent. Always go directly to those sites using a fresh tab.

Close any account you know was accessed, compromised, or opened fraudulently.

Routinely review your bank and credit card statements monthly for unexplained charges or inquiries that you didn't initiate.

Consider signing up for credit report monitoring service through one of the larger credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion). These agencies will send you an email if credit history has been researched and by whom. They will also inform you when new lines of credit are opened in your name.

"Protecting yourself from such insidious scams requires diligence," said Police Chief Matthew Hamner.


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