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Do not trust unsolicited tech support calls

The Internet truly is the wild, wild, west these days, though lately it's getting a bit more of an eastern twist these days.  

It's getting to the point that you can't trust anything or anyone any more.  Or perhaps, as Ronald Regan was known to say, "Trust, but verify."  

Have you gotten a call yet from someone representing themselves as being from Microsoft or Apple or a company affiliated with either, telling you your computer is infected...

The Internet truly is the wild, wild, west anymore, though it's getting a lot more of an eastern twist these days.  More on that later.

It's getting to the point that you can't trust anything or anyone any more.  Or perhaps, as Ronald Regan was know to say, "Trust, but verify."  

Have you gotten a call yet from someone representing themselves as being from Microsoft or Apple or a company affiliated with either. The conversation usually starts off with something to the effect that "We have been alerted by your computer that it is a) experiencing an attack by multiple viruses, or b) suffering from a severe slow down in performance, or c) about to fail, or some variation of these.  

The intent is to generate fear on your part so that you are prompted to act quickly without thinking when the next request comes.  "We need to log on to your system and fix this right away so that your personal information is not compromised."  

Don't Do It!

Do not trust any unsolicited calls; do not give them access to your computer; do not give them any personal information; and most of all do not give them your credit card number.

 According to the Better Business bureau:

Once the scammer has gained your trust, they may request remote access to your computer. Once access has been granted, the scammer may be installing a virus or malware on your computer that is designed to track your passwords, financial information and other personal information to use for identity theft or credit card/bank fraud.

The scammer may even ask that you pay them for the tech support in the range of hundreds of dollars. Once the scammer has your credit card number, they can fraudulently charge your account.

Even worse, once the scammer knows you have fallen for the scam, they may place your phone number on a "sucker" list and target you for future scams because they know you are more likely to be a victim again.

Here are some of the organizations that cyber criminals claim to be from:

  • Windows Helpdesk
  • Windows Service Center
  • Microsoft Tech Support
  • Microsoft Support
  • Windows Technical Department Support Group
  • Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)

Remember: Microsoft will never call you unsolicited. The company says this is a foreign scam to collect credit card numbers and install malware.

Bottom line: If Microsoft calls you, hang up. That way, you don't waste your money.

It is important to remember that scammers will use your fear and emotions to try and steal your cash. They will say or do anything to convince you into giving personal information or allowing access to your computer.

Consumers who have been victimized report that the scammers were extremely aggressive and used tactics involving fear and emotion. They tend to target seniors who are less tech savvy and may be more likely to trust strangers on the phone. In some even scarier situations, scammers who have gained access to computers have accessed the webcam and taken personal screenshots of victims during private moments and reposted them online.

Scammers that call you may know your name or other personal information in an effort to make
themselves seem more legitimate, however most of these details are information they may have taken from your online social media accounts or even just the phone book. They may go through the phone book and call thousands of people each day.

If you receive a call claiming to be from Microsoft or offering tech support, just HANG UP. Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. If you have already been victimized, you should file a complaint with the FTC (www.ftc.gov or 877-FTC-HELP) as well as the FBI's internet crime division, IC3 (www.ic3.gov). If you have given out your credit card information, immediately contact your card issuer to close your account or dispute any fraudulent charges. Never under any circumstances should you give out personal information over the phone to unsolicited callers. Save your hard earned money, just hang up.

The Better Business Bureau

 

 
Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce

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