Police warn of tech support scam as residents fall victim

BETHEL PARK, Pa. — Bethel Park Police are warning of a tech support scam after “at least two residents were scammed into withdrawing money,” according to a Facebook post from the department.

In one case, an elderly woman took out $14,000 from a Citizens Bank branch, investigators told Channel 11.

According to the post from police, the victims received a pop-up on their computers that purported to be from Microsoft Support.

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“The scammers convinced the victims that their computers had already been hacked and they lost a large sum of money, and ‘Microsoft Support’ would use a ‘Secure line’ to transfer them to their bank over the phone to help recover their funds,” the warning reads.

Once on the phone, the scammers posed as bank employees, and directed the victims to visit a nearby branch and take out cashier’s checks to mail to them. The scammers claimed the funds would be held in “escrow” until the fraudulent transaction was stopped.

The scammers apparently advised the victims to tell no one of the plan, and to advise the banks that the checks were being used to purchase property.

The Robinson Township Police Department shared the scam alert post, writing, “This has happened to several of our Robinson Twp. residents over the last couple years.”

The reports come not long after Channel 11 reported that the FBI has seen an uptick in tech support scams. In 2021, 204 people in our region fell victim, collectively losing more than $4.4 million. https://www.wpxi.com/news/local/fbi-warns-public-about-increase-tech-support-scams/GX74UXZDDRE2RNMYT2SWUKXQDY/

Investigators are asking people to spread the word to elderly or vulnerable residents to protect them from falling for these scams.

Bethel Park Police add, “Always scan your computer for viruses and malware, and never click unknown links or download unknown email attachments. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a call, email or transaction, talk to a trusted person or call our dispatch center 24/7 at 412-833-2000.”

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