By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hackers don’t always have to break into your computer. Sometimes you let them in! As 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan warns us, an old scam is making a comeback.

Stacia Gates was on her computer one day when a pop-up appeared that said it was from Microsoft. Her Microsoft computer immediately froze and the pop-up directed her to call the number on her screen to fix it.

Stacia says, “He was from Microsoft and he needed to get inside the computer.” She decided to give him access, saying, “I did not have control of the computer any longer, he did.” But the man wasn’t with Microsoft.

Security expert Hemu Nigam says, “They say oh a horrible thing is going to happen it’s an urgent situation.” According to Nigjam, it’s an old scam that’s now back in a big way. In the past two years Microsoft has heard from over 175,000 customers complaining about tech support scams.

The con artists often ask for payment to fix your computer. Nigjam says, “At that point they got your credit card, they got your expiration date, they got your home address and they got your first and last name and they got the cc code on your card.”

So how can you protect yourself?

– Never call a phone number on a pop-up.

– Never give a stranger access to your computer.

– Make sure to update anti-virus programs and your operating system software.

Stacia realized there was something wrong when the man on the phone asked if she did on banking on the computer. She says, “Bingo a lightbulb just hit me it just went off and I thought what have I done.”

She immediately hung up and now thinks twice when she sees a pop up.

By the way, if you think these scam artists merely pose as Microsoft employees, think again. They also pose as tech support for Apple.