Google results for ‘PayPal,’ ‘Microsoft’ yield scam phone numbers

By: Sarah Wright | Troy Times | Published July 1, 2024

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TROY — Troy police have some words of advice on how to avoid a new scam that has already affected some Troy residents.

“If you use the Internet to find a phone number for a business, it is recommended to find it from the main company website, instead of just pulling a number from a quick Google search,” Troy Police Public Information Officer Benjamin L. Hancock said.

Two recent incidents highlight the danger.

A resident of Timberview Road reported she was having problems with her PayPal account June 4.

She searched “PayPal” on Google to get a contact number and called a number that she thought was officially connected with PayPal, police said.

The woman spoke with an unknown suspect, who told her there were suspicious charges on her account and that he would help her remove them. She was instructed to download a remote desktop app on her phone and then was asked to perform some transactions so they could determine how the “fraud” was occurring.

The victim followed the suspect’s instructions, completing a money transfer via Chase Bank Zelle, a money transfer via Western Union, and the purchase of two Target gift cards.

She was scammed out of a total of $1,859.

A resident of Vernmoor Street reported June 5 that he was using his computer when the screen locked and turned black, with a message to contact Microsoft security.

The victim did not call the number on his screen but instead Google searched “Microsoft Security.” He called the number found on Google, thinking it was a legitimate number for Microsoft, but it was a fraudulent number.

He spoke with an unknown suspect, who said he would test the man’s computer if the man sent money via Zelle, telling him that the money would be returned to him.

The victim sent the money, and the suspect was able to increase the transfer to $7,000. The victim realized it was a scam when his money was not returned.