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Beware of scams circulating in the area - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Beware of scams circulating in the area

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Image that displays on computer infected with NSA Internet Surveillance Program virus. Image that displays on computer infected with NSA Internet Surveillance Program virus.
SHREVEPORT/BOSSIER CITY, La. -

There are a couple scams making the rounds that could mean big trouble for your bank account if you're not careful.

The first is a computer virus that locks up your PC, and demands that you fork over $300 to gain back access to your equipment.

It's called the NSA Internet Surveillance Program virus and it's exactly what attacked H.G. Gourdon's computer at his Coushatta, LA home.

The 67-year-old retiree says he often visits the Publisher's Clearing House site to play various games, and recently, his computer locked up and displayed an official-looking image on the screen.

Complete with FBI and Dept. of Justice seals, the virus is designed to frighten and intimidate users by accusing them of having child pornography on their computers and even threatening jail time if they don't pay up.

It asks owners to go purchase a Money-pak card from a local store, enter that card number, and suddenly you're out $300, with the scammers nearly impossible to track.

Luckily, Gourdon knew better than to pay, but others may not be so fortunate.

"I knew it was a bug right off because I hadn't been anywhere. I hadn't been to any of the porn sites that they said I had been to. I watch the news and stay up on the different scams that are going around," Gourdon says.

Because the NSA virus completely locks up your computer, experts say you'll probably have to manually remove it instead of using anti-virus software.

The Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force is also warning residents about a different kind of scam, this one over the phone.

It's called the 'Grandparent Scam' and it involves people who make phone calls to elderly people claiming to be their grandchildren.

The scammers claim they're jailed or hospitalized in a foreign country and need bail money right away.

The task force has received calls in recent weeks about the scam resurfacing, and in one case. a local woman lost $5,000.

Officials believe the scammers get phone numbers from telemarketing and mailing lists, as well as from social networks.

To avoid falling victim, never give out any personal information that includes relative's names.

Verify the whereabouts of any family members yourself by calling around.

Don't fill in the blanks for the people on the other end of the line. The scammers usually do not know the names of the grandchildren, but are relying on their victim to provide that information.

You can even ask for the scammer's name and phone number. Once the tables have turned and you're seeking information, they'll usually hang up.

And, of course, never send money unless you have verified that your relative is really in trouble.

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