Caller from 'Microsoft' seizes control of Eugene woman's computer

EUGENE, Ore. - The man on the phone said he was calling from Microsoft to help Heather Penman clean up corrupt files on her computer and renew her software license.

For $300, he could fix her machine and renew her licenses.

Then he took control of Penman's computer.

In our high tech world, the wonders and mystery of technology can carry an air of authority of their own.

Penman thinks she was seconds away from losing her money.

"It felt terrible... and I still can't get over the fact how close I came," said Pennman. "He had me open my computer and that's when they got in."

Jeff Manning of the State Justice Department said these cons bank on people not knowing much about computers.

"As well as the well founded fear that there are viruses out there that will destroy your computer," said Manning.

When her computer screen switched to "Bank of India," Pennman called in a computer-savvy neighbor to help her figure out what was going on.

She also called her credit union who refused to wire money to the account.

Long story short: Penman was being scammed by a sophisticated hacker who took control of her computer and tried to convince her he was from Microsoft.

Jeff Manning with the Oregon Attorney General said these type of calls aren't new, but complaints have picked up in recent months.

For the record: Microsoft doesn't cold call customers on the telephone.

"If someone calls and says they are from Microsoft, they're not. They don't call you. It's a scam," said Pennman.

Manning said the crooks call at odd hours of the night and prey on people with little or no formal computer skills.

Manning said never give control of your computer to a caller, and never give out your credit card number.