NEW LONDON — People in the New London area are getting hit with a computer scam, one that targets the elderly for theft.

Doug Ploof, who works for TDS Telecom, a phone company in New London, said he has been helping customers in recent weeks who have been targeted by the “Microsoft Scam.”

“Most of them don’t know what to do,” Ploof said.

In this scam, the victim’s computer gets locked into one website, telling him or her that the computer has either been locked out, or in some way compromised.

“They basically hold it hostage,” Ploof said.

This scam also gives the victim a telephone number for “Microsoft” support.

This phone number, in fact, sends the victim to the scammers, located in India, and not anyone from Microsoft, Ploof said.

From there, the scammers try to convince the victim to install a software package on the computer to “fix” the problem.

This phony fix costs the victim hundreds of dollars, and the worst is yet to come, according to Ploof.

Once the software is installed, the scammers can then take control of the victim’s computer and search for bank account and credit card numbers stored on the systems.

“Once they have access to the customer’s computer, they can reach through it and get access to bank records and credit information,” Ploof said.

The AARP warns elderly people who are targets to never give out their financial information online, or over the phone. They should be sure to keep their computer virus protections up-to-date, and if they suspect their computer has been compromised they should first turn it off and then on again, and run the virus detection program. They should also contact their financial institutions if they suspect their accounts have been illegally accessed, according to the AARP.