Consumer advocates are warning of a tech support scam in which someone is calling Minnesotans offering to help with computer problems.
Dan Hendrickson, spokesman for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, said some consumers thought the calls were legitimate and have given information to the scammers.
"You can give up your IP address and end up giving up control of your computer," Hendrickson said, "and then the scammers can then take you around to different websites, websites designed to get your credit card number. They'll pretend to help you ... and the next thing you know, they've got your credit card numbers and control of your computer. So it's a nasty little scam here."
Complaints have been coming in from across the state, Hendrickson said, and it appears the scammers are dialing random numbers.
Hendrickson said some of the scammers claim to work for Microsoft and have foreign accents. He said it's important for people to know that computer tech support companies do not make cold calls to customers.
He emphasized that people should "be very leery of cold calls telling them their computer is running slow. That's a pretty clever hook, actually, because a lot of older computers do run slow. So just be aware that when you have a problem with your computer, you call the computer repair shop, they don't call you."
The Better Business Bureau also recommends keeping anti-virus software current.
• Follow Elizabeth Dunbar on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/edunbarmpr