Watch out for phishing scams by phone

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.


About ebraiter
computer guy

One Response to Watch out for phishing scams by phone

  1. ebraiter says:

    Update: Microsoft is warning about a new Internet phone scam that could cost you $875 in stolen money and as much as $4,800 in computer repair bills to undo the damage.
    The scammers appear to be targeting people in English-speaking countries including the United States, Canada, Ireland and the U.K. Microsoft called 7,000 computer users in these four countries to see how widespread the emerging scam was.
    So far around 15 per cent of those surveyed had received a call, according to Microsoft.
    The good news is only 3 per cent of those surveyed fell for the scam, but those who did fall victim usually paid a hefty price. The vast majority of those deceived (79 per cent) suffered some kind of financial loss including money taken from their bank and credit card accounts, compromised passwords and identity fraud. Average financial losses ranged from $82 in Ireland to as much as $1,560 in Canada.

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