Scams On the Rise Around the Stateline

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Better Business Bureau says scams are on the rise.

In the past two days, they've taken 60-70 calls regarding an IRS scam. The Director of the BBB, Dennis Horton, says today was no different: the phone was ringing off the hook.

In cases of the IRS scam, the scammer will tell a person that the Internal Revenue Service filed a lawsuit against them and they need to make an immediate payment over the phone.

The BBB says the IRS never makes phone calls. They will only contact people via mail.

The General Manager of Bisconti Computers, Robert Bisconti, says he gets calls daily calls regarding people who say their computers have been hacked.

"They have to gain access first," explains Bisconti, "The person they call has to give them a website to go to. Then they install a client on there, which gives them access to the computer. Once they're in, they can bring up anything on the screen."

Bisconti says most of the time, the hackers will bring up irrelevant data or something that makes it appear like there's an issue with the computer, all while the computer's running perfectly fine.

Scammers are getting more creative, finding new ways to trick victims into giving them personal information, including using local numbers.

"While technology helps us," says Horton, "It also helps them. They're able to spoof a phone number to make it look like it's actually coming from the IRS or Microsoft, when, in fact, they're using a throwaway cell phone and computer-generating a phone number that really doesn't exist."

Bisconti warns that people who live in apartment complexes could be most at risk.

"The fear of being in an apartment or place with an access point or Wi-Fi access that multiple people have access to is that once one computer is compromised, there's always a risk for the computers connected to that same network to be compromised, as well," explains Bisconti. He says the best way to protect a computer from being hacked is to install or buy an anti-virus software.

The Illinois State Police also sent out a warning about a scam where callers are identifying themselves as ISP or "Illinois Police." The caller asks for donations or says there's a warrant out for your arrest and you need to send money as soon as possible.

The BBB and Illinois State Police recommend hanging up the phone immediately if a scammer calls, never give out personal information, and alert the BBB of the scam immediately.

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