A new financial threat has emerged for seniors: computer tech support scamsters.

The number of complaints by the elderly about this fraud has been skyrocketing.

“(State attorneys general) are now seeing what the experts at Microsoft have seen -- an explosion in the numbers of technical support scam complaints and too few resources and technical expertise to pursue the most egregious scammers,” Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit chief David Finn told the Senate Special Committee on Aging Wednesday.

At a hearing on the problem, Aging Committee Chair Susan Collins (R-Me.) said the amount of personal financial information computer tech support scamsters are potentially gaining access to is “chilling.”

“By breaking into a victim’s computer, a thief could gain access to information such as bank account and credit card numbers, passwords to investment accounts, Social Security numbers and other personal information that could enable criminals to continue to steal from their victims,” Collins said.

The fraudsters are also preying on the elderly by providing fixes they don’t need and by installing malware secretly that they then charge the unsuspecting victims to remove.

The ways they contact seniors range from calls pretending to be from well-known tech companies like Microsoft and McAfee to pop-up messages falsely alerting computer users to non-existent problems.

Many of the scamsters are operating from call centers in India.