I recently got locked out of my Yahoo account and could not change my password. I went online to search for a customer service number for them.

I found one for supposed “Yahoo Assistance.” I told them my email was locked up and I could not change my password. They claimed I had been hacked by someone in Canada and promised they would protect my account if I would give them remote access to my computer and download their app. They said I would have to first pay between $99 and $199, depending on the level of service.

I said I was not paying to reset my password and hung up. Then, I called back and asked for a manager. The person said I had the wrong number, even though I had just hit redial!

I called again using a different phone and pretended to be a new person. The guy said he’d gladly help me for the same fee. What is going on here?


- Kourtney Frantz, Franklin, Tenn.

Dear KOURTNEY:

Your Spidey sense about this being fishy turned out to be right on the money. This was not the real Yahoo customer service. Other consumers have reported the same fake user support scheme for Google, Hotmail and other popular email providers, each time with the apparent goal of taking people’s money and gaining remote access to their computers.

We asked Yahoo spokeswoman Anne Yeh about this and she confirmed it’s a scam. She urges anyone with an account issue to click here to get legitimate FREE help. Yahoo says it will never charge you to reset your password, get tech support or address a security concern, and they won’t ask to remotely connect to your computer, either.

People who’ve encountered a scam using the Yahoo name can report the suspicious activity here.

On the proactive side, the company recommends users keep their account recovery info up-to-date so they can easily regain access if they are locked out.

[Yahoo is a partner of ABC News and the Disney/ABC Television Group.]

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Stephanie Zimmermann

Most people groan at the thought of spending hours on the phone with a customer service call center, but Stephanie Zimmermann relishes the chance to slice through red tape.

Before joining ABC News, Stephanie untangled consumer problems at the Chicago Sun-Times, where her popular column recovered more than $1.4 million in refunds, credits, and merchandise for consumers in the Windy City.

Stephanie, who lives in Chicago, has also worked at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and has bachelor's and master's degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. But most of all, Stephanie is a consumer who hates to see anyone else get ripped off.