AG warns tech scams on the rise in Vermont

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Mary Kerr has spent most of her life writing.

"I still write about skiing," she said.

At 86, Kerr continues to spend much of her spare time typing on her computer.

"Our life is on there," she said. "I've got two books on there. I've got all the stories I have written."

But even with all her experience, Kerr found herself in a situation she never thought would happen to her.

"This ad said don't turn off your computer, call this number to protect yourself," she said.

At a press conference Thursday, Kerr joined Vermont's attorney general to voice her frustration after losing hundreds of dollars in a tech support scam.

"I just couldn't believe it happened to me-- that I was that stupid that I could fall for something like that," Kerr said.

"There is no reason to be embarrassed. There is no reason to be ashamed," said T.J. Donovan, D-Vt. Attorney General. "The best offense is a great defense. That's why we're here today trying to raise awareness."

Donovan says cybersecurity and identity theft crimes are the fastest growing crimes in the country. Tech support scams are the third most common scam complaints received by the attorney general's Consumer Assistance Program.

"Vermonters are getting ripped off because of this," Donovan said.

Warning signs of a tech scam include:

-Someone asking for remote access to your computer.

-Someone asking for credit card information.

-Someone asking for usernames and passwords.

"This stuff is on the rise. We are in an online world. We are only going to continue to operate in an online world," Donovan said.

"It's such an intrusion on your personal life," Kerr said.

She's still frustrated but she wants you to be ready and be aware when online.

"And I warn people, [it looks] very legit," Kerr said.

Click here for more information and tips from Vermont's Consumer Assistance Program.