Airdrie resident Joanne Hanowski didn’t believe the man who called her and told her he was an employee of Microsoft calling to check on her computer software.
“He said he was from Microsoft and that I needed to log in and give him my computer info because I had a computer virus,” said Hanowski, who has lived in Airdrie for nine years.
“I didn’t believe him for a second but someone out there is not going to be as vigilant and is going to give their info to them. All I have to say is do not give your information; let’s stop these guys before they get started. The only way to stop them is by refusing to give them info. If I wasn’t smart enough to say ‘no,’ I could have lost everything; nobody deserves that.”
Hanowski handled the afternoon call on Aug. 20 by the book. She told the man on her line that she did not give personal information on the phone and asked him to send a letter to her mailing address, then he quickly hung up.
The Airdrie RCMP has recently received several complaints regarding suspicious phone calls. According to Airdrie RCMP Cst. Francine Hennelly, fraudulent telemarketers have placed calls to various people in the city, advising that they work for a software company and that there is a problem with the person’s home computer.
“The person answering the phone is then instructed to access a specific website to obtain a solution,” said Hennelly.
“The RCMP is reminding people not to provide any personal information to third parties whose identification cannot be verified. Any questions regarding a person’s computer or Internet can be directed to that person’s Internet service provider, computer distributor, or technical support.”
Hennelly said Hanowski did the right thing by calling Phonebusters.
“The RCMP is involved in a National Task Force known as Project Phonebusters that was established to combat telemarketing fraud,” said Hennelly.
Project Phonebusters provides tips to help residents avoid becoming victims of fraudulent telemarketers:
• Do not believe that everyone calling with an exciting promotion or investment opportunity is trustworthy, especially if you do not know the caller or the company.
• Do not invest or purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the investment, product, service and the company.
• Do not be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
• Do not be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase.
• Do not be pressured to send money to take advantage of a special offer or deal.
• Do not be hurried into sending money to claim a prize that is available for only a few hours.
• Do not disclose information about your finances, bank accounts or credit cards (not even the credit card expiry date).
• Do not be afraid to hang-up the phone.
For more information, contact Project Phonebusters at 1-888-495-8501 or visit the website at www.phonebusters.com