Colorado attorney general warning of new phone scam

Published: Oct. 27, 2017 at 12:51 PM MDT
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The Colorado attorney general is warning residents not to be fooled by phony state government phone calls.

The calls, which are beginning to circulate in the state, involve someone cold calling and claiming to be tech support for the state of Colorado. The caller tells their prospective victims that they are calling to help remove a virus from their computers.

Making the lie more convincing, the caller ID reads "Colorado State Gov't," using the real 1-800-222-444 number.

“These phone calls are obviously false,” said Attorney General Cynthia Coffman in a statement Friday. “No one in state government knows whether your computer is affected by a virus, and we certainly aren’t going to call you to get you to pay us to fix your computer.”

The attorney general's office says this scam is likely related to a similar scam involving pop-ups on computers warning of infection.

The office offers the following tips to help prevent future victims:

-The minute a stranger calls or emails you, or a pop-up message appears on your computer with a “WARNING!” about a virus detected on your computer you should know that it is a lie. Large computer or software companies – including companies that provide legitimate security and anti-virus software – have no way of knowing whether your particular computer has been infected. They only send out notices or software updates when they identify a particular cyber threat affecting the whole market.

-Legitimate companies will NEVER call you out of the blue or send you a pop-up message with claims that they have detected a virus or other problem with your computer.

-If you receive a call from someone who offers technical support or claims your computer has been hacked or infected with a virus, hang up immediately. Delete any pop-up messages without responding.

-NEVER allow a stranger to gain remote access to your computer—for any reason. Once they are inside, they can steal personal or financial information or install their own virus to steal this information for them.

-If you suspect that you actually have a virus or other problem with your computer, contact the help number that comes from the manufacturer or contact a local computer repair company.

-Keep all security software installed on your computer up-to-date and turned on.

-Make sure your device’s firewall and pop-up blocker are turned on. This will help prevent intrusions and unsafe pop-ups.

If you believe you may have been a victim or experience any suspicious activity, you can file a report by clicking

. You can also call 1-800-222-4444 -- the attorney general's office says while they will never call you from that number, it is a real number that can be used to file a report.