Scammers posing as Microsoft tech experts targeting Sedgwick County residents

Scammers posing as technical experts with Microsoft Corp. are targeting Sedgwick County residents by phone, claiming they can fix computer problems for a fee.

At least 13 people have reported receiving the fraudulent calls since Jan. 1, the Sedgwick County District Attorney Office’s consumer protection division said this week. The scammers claim Microsoft is receiving error codes from a person’s home computer, ask for personal information to access the computer, then offer to install malware for a fee to protect against future viruses.

One local woman, who asked not to be named, said a scammer with a “heavily accented voice” called her Feb. 28 and asked for $200 to $500 to repair her computer. He eventually settled on a $99 fee, she said, and asked that the money be wired from a local Dillons store.

“I guess I really believed him until he got off the phone. He was so convincing,” the woman said.

“They really convinced me they would do me some good.”

The woman said she did not send the money but later discovered that several unauthorized charges, including $1,500 at a Minnesota liquor store, had been made to her bank account.

The district attorney’s office advises anyone who receives these calls to avoid giving out private and financial information and to hang up. Scams can be reported to the DA’s consumer protection division at 316-660-3653.

“It aggravated me,” the woman said of her Feb. 28 caller. “I think if they ever called back I’d say, ‘Why don’t you get an honest job?’ ”