MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A man was shut out of his own computer -- and only after he paid big bucks could he get back in! FOX6's Contact 6 says it's a scam that is holding people hostage in their own homes!
Mark Snyder answered a phone call from a man he didn't know, and it cost him a lot of money.
"Actually, I was on the computer when he called me. He said 'is your computer on?' And I said 'yes.' And he said 'I want to show you something,'" Snyder said.
Snyder says the man asked him to enter two passwords onto a website called "Ammyy." It is a software company selling a program that lets you take over a computer from another location.
"He actually had control of my mouse. He was moving it around. I kept trying to click out of it and he kept moving it away. So I couldn't get out of it," Snyder said.
The man on the phone said Snyder's computer was infected with viruses, and for $269 he could clean it up.
"I had to send the check to a Frank Snyder. And then I was supposed to tell Western Union that it was just a friend that I was sending it to," Snyder said.
Snyder sent the money, but soon realized he had been scammed.
"I'm on disability. I don't get very much money, and $270 is a lot for me," Snyder said.
When the man called back asking for an additional $269 for more cleaning, Snyder said "no."
"He said 'if you don't give me that $269 I'm going to shut your computer down.' And I said 'I'm not giving it to you.' Sure enough, he shut my computer down. It just went blank," Snyder said.
Snyder eventually got his computer cleaned by a local professional like Debbie Dietzel, who says she sees a lot of these types of scams popping up lately.
"They're being called, sometimes they're being emailed. And more ominously, more recently, they're getting a pop-up on their computer asking to update software. And all of these three ways are opening up their computers to fraud and scams," Dietzel said.
It is a scam the Better Business Bureau has issued warnings about as well.
"Don't give them any information about your computer - the type of it, any passwords, never give them any personal information," Ran Hoth with the BBB said.
The Ammyy website has issued a warning about this kind of scam.
Contact 6 says to remember that no matter how official the company name sounds, no legitimate business would call about viruses on your computer, or to take control of it.