This post is from last October. Because I’ve been hearing about these agressive scammers a lot lately and Melinda VanLone posted about them on Facebook, I decided to post it again with a few edits.
Very recently, a very dear grandmotherly friend of mine got a phone call from someone who claimed to be Windows Tech Support.
They asked her to give them access to her computer to check for viruses with a remote access tool, Team Viewer, that was very easy to install.
They explored her computer, while she watched, and told her that she had thousands of viruses on her computer.
They could clean that up for her for a price. She told them to get lost and hung up on them and closed the window to the remote session. They’d already seen her computer though.
While I talked to this dear friend, and got her to do a full system scan on her computer, I looked up this type of fraud on the Microsoft website, where they have some helpful tips, including this page of ways to avoid tech support phone scams.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (click the link for more helpful tips).
(Note: I know it’s still August, but we should be vigilant about our computers everyday.)
How do we protect ourselves (or people who are not tech savvy) from this kind of scam?
- The computer companies, including Microsoft, do not like you enough to call you to check your computer for you. They may love that you bought their software, but they will not call you. Period. Hang up.
- The sounds of a foreign-based call center and a caller with a very thick English accent on the other end of the line…. Hang up.
- The website they direct you to is not an official Microsoft website. The fact that they use the word “windows” in their URL, does not make them Microsoft. Do not go to or download anything from their website. Hang up.
- Do not, under any circumstances, give someone you don’t know or trust access to your computer.
- Report the call to the FTC.
I honestly don’t know if reporting them to the FTC will help directly because it seems they are operating on foreign soil. One called my mom-in-law and admitted he was calling from India. Another called a different friend and said he was calling from somewhere in the US, and yet his accent and the background sounds had all the makings of a foreign call center.
Even people with common sense can get taken off guard by a phone call like this. Don’t be fooled, because…
The computer companies do not like us enough to make personal phone calls to be sure our computers are safe.
I know some people (and not just Mac people) might mess with the callers. Would you hang up, tell them stories, speak a different language?