SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- If you get a phone call from someone saying your computer has a virus, you're likely the target of a scam.
The Southwest Missouri Better Business Bureau issued a warning Monday morning for the deceptive phone calls.
BBB says it has received numerous phone calls from consumers who've received phone calls from individuals claiming to be from Windows or Microsoft telling them a virus has been placed on their computer and needed cleaning.
According to the BBB, consumers are instructed to follow specific steps to give the caller remote access to their computer to clean it. During this time, the scammer has complete control of the consumer's computer and can download viruses of their own. After the scammers supposedly clean the computer, they then ask for payment for the work by asking for credit card information over the phone.
As you could expect, Microsoft doesn't call consumers to let them know they have a virus.
Tips to protect yourself from scammers attempting to access your computer:
Go through your service provider directly. If you are concerned your computer may be exposed to viruses or other security threats, contact your service provider. Some providers offer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.
Install virus detection. To help protect your computer from viruses, make sure you have virus detection software on your computer. This software also can help identify a virus if it appears on your computer.
Investigate unsolicited calls. If caller ID display reads "Unknown", do not answer. Never give personal information over the phone to someone you don't know. If the caller claims there is a security threat to your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly. Remember, if the call is important, they will leave a message, and you can choose whether or not to return the call.
Find a computer repair company you can trust. Do your homework, and go to www.bbb.org to find a business you can trust.