People surfing the web - MicrosoftPeople pretending to be Microsoft employees are calling homeowners and telling them their computer has a "serious virus." But to "fix" the problem, people are being told to pay a fee and give the caller remote access to their computer -- and, as a result, expose all their private data.

Better Business Bureau officials in Oregon, Washington and Alaska are warning residents about the calls.

Microsoft's website clearly states the Redmond, Wash.-based company does not send unsolicited emails or make unsolicited phone calls requesting personal or financial information.By giving someone remote access to your computer, you might be allowing access to your personal financial information as well as passwords.

So be wary of unsolicited calls. If you're worried you've been duped, contact a verified tech support team to make sure your computer is protected. Make sure system updates, virus and spyware protection are current and watch your credit and bank reports to ensure nothing untoward is occurring.

In general:
  • Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller. If they claim to be from a specific company, contact them using a verified method (the customer service number on the website, for example).
  • Don't download attachments or trust email links from people you don't know or emails you weren't expecting.
  • Report fraudulent activity to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
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