Beware of calls from phony tech-support scammers looking to steal personal information

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A tech scam that's been around for years apparently is on the rise. It involves calls from people saying they are from a well-known computer company and they want to help fix your computer -- or help it run better.

They are really looking to steal your important personal information.

"They didn't announce themselves, they just started talking to me about my computer crashing," Freddie May Slaughter said.

Slaughter got that call from a man saying he was from Microsoft XP and had reports her computer has problems. He could help her fix her computer if she would just do what he said.

“They kept overtalking me and talking faster and faster, and I couldn't understand, and they kept giving me commands to put this letter in and that letter in," Slaughter explained.

Unfortunately, Slaughter didn't realize the scam soon enough and helped the criminal install some very dangerous monitoring software on her computer.

"They steal user names and passwords and they will go in and make purchases or more important they will go in and get your credit card information and steal it,” Burton Kelso said.

Kelso is a computer expert with Integral and says often times the scammers trick people by installing legitimate software along with a sinister background program that grabs personal information. Calls usually come from centers in India, Ruissia and the Middle East.

"It's just global because there are a lot of people who realize people aren't tech savvy, so this is a good way to make some easy money,” Kelso said.

Computer experts say this is an epidemic and the best way to protect yourself is to never give anyone any information if they call you and you don't know them, nor should you ever let a stranger take control of your computer.

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