Watch out for phishing scams by phone
April 20, 2012 1 Comment
This is a true story. A friend of mine was almost scammed.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be support staff from a company [generally Microsoft, your internet provider, etc.] and claiming that your system is infected – be extra cautious.
Note: If your system was infected for real, you probably would see your system a bit slow and/or pop-ups would be showing up.
The ‘support” person may ask you for your phone number, physical address and Email address.
Ask them to give you information only they could have such as your account number for your ISP [if your ISP is calling], your version of Windows [if Microsoft], your actual name [note: if they just give you your initial, then it's not enough], etc.
Note: They should have most or all of this if they were a real support company.
The “support” person may also sounds like they are from another country with an accent [some say from India or Pakistan] and/or the volume of the phone call is low and/or line noise.
They will ask you to connect to a web site [or maybe send you the link by Email] and download and install some software. They then will ask you to connect to your computer to “fix” the problem. The software may be a something called LogMeIn, Ammyy Admin or TeamViewer. All allow someone to access your computer remotely [but they need permission first]. The software is legitimate.
From then on it is downhill. They will poke around, transfer data [Email addresses, Email, etc.] off your computer, search for financial information, etc.
At one point they will say it will cost [something like] $199.99 to fix the problem. They you know you are being scammed for sure.
Here are a few things to look for:
- If it is from your internet provider, ask them what is your account information [or anything they should know]. Some may also have your birthday on file.
- Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and others will never call you about an infection. Not their problem.
- Neither will Symantec [Norton], McAfee, Kaspersky or others.
- As mentioned above, if your system had multiple infections, wouldn’t you have noticed anything out of the ordinary?
If you don’t believe me…..
For the technical, close down the application. Go to <user profile>\appdata\local\temp and delete everything [note that not everything is removable and may be in use]. Obviously adjust the location for Windows XP users. This will at least kill the application from running.
If you feel that you are being hit by the scammers, hang up and shut down or disconnect your ISP’s modem.