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2015-04-02

Scam targets HC CO-OP customers

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Yet another rather sophisticated scam is currently making the rounds, targeting customers who receive their Internet and telephone service from the Hill Country Telephone Cooperative.
An alert Courier reader called to say a notice had appeared on her computer screen - purportedly from the Hill Country Telephone Cooperative - warning that her computer had been subject to a "serious security problem" that left all her sensitive and personal information "at risk and compromised." The IP number of the warning was 173.224.1.66.
The customer was advised to call a toll free number, 1-888-365-5526, immediately to have the security breach corrected.
Instead, the savvy consumer called her Internet provider and reported the problem. She was referred to the Hill Country Telephone Cooperative's I-FIX department, where a computer technician advised her the warning was a scam. The customer was told that had she called the recommended telephone number, she would have been charged $400 for installation of new spyware on her computer to alleviate the "severe security threat." The Hill Country Telephone Cooperative's IT department also advised her to delete the warning from her computer screen immediately.
The woman said she planned to report the scam to the Bandera County Sheriff's Office, but wanted other Courier readers to be aware of the "real" potential for a breach of their sensitive information, including passwords and credit card information, among others.
As yet, this particular scam involving customers of the Hill Country Telephone Cooperative has not yet been reported online. Neverthess, customers are advised to be cautious - and aware.