Cleveland woman warns about computer repair scams after she lost hundreds of dollars

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jul 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-10 06:00:16-04

It's a scam that's hitting our area and claiming victims to the tune of hundreds of dollars each. Here’s how a computer, a phone, and a good story can fool a lot of people.

"I'm just learning the computers,” said Marcia DeRenzo from the west side of Cleveland. And at almost 75 years old, she is learning about tech scams. "I fell into their trap."

She got a phone call in 2015 saying that “something” was wrong with her computer. They said they were from Yahoo and they could protect her computer for 5 years at a mere price of $400. Unfortunately, she gave them the money.

"Well, they just kept calling and, finally, I'd just hang up,” DeRenzo told us.

So, if the Yahoo scam wasn't bad enough, then something was supposedly wrong with Windows. A message popped up on her screen. She was given a number to call.

It was the start of a double scam. "It blocked my computer. I couldn't do anything," she said.

This time the scammers said they were with Windows and, once again, DeRenzo handed over money. This time is was $143, but then more pop-ups kept coming.

"I think they prey on the elderly."

She's right. Number two on the Ohio Attorney General's list of scams targeting seniors is computer repair.

So, what's being done about it? Just this past May, DeWine and the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against a company as part of a repair investigation and the FTC launched Operation Tech Trap. It’s a nationwide crackdown on tech-related scams.

Just remember, neither Yahoo nor Windows will call you about tech support or security.

It's all a hard lesson learned for DeRozen. “I just hope that it helps somebody else so they don’t get scammed.”

Here’s more information from the FTC and the Ohio AG’s Office.