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Scammers on the loose again

Philip Brooks looks at scamming in his latest article
Philip Brooks looks at scamming in his latest article

You may think that the subject of this week’s blog is a bit of a cheat as I have previously written about it, but phone scamming is again on the increase and, because it is such a heartless act, I would really like to alert people.

A caller pretends to be a “technical support engineer” from either a Windows or Microsoft call centre, who has discovered problems or viruses on your computer.

The caller will persuade you to give them access to your machine and, once in, will use a common scare tactic of showing you lots of yellow and red exclamation marks and other scary looking error messages on the machine and claim that these are caused by viruses (which, of course, they are not. They are simply logged events such as your printer once having run out of paper or a web page you once tried to access was down).

The “engineer” will require immediate payment to clean up the “dangerously infected” computer and install “protection” software onto the system. In addition and unbeknown to you, they are highly likely to install malware on your PC in order to obtain your online shopping or banking information, thus being able to steal money from your bank account.

Genuine computer companies will never call to report computer problems. If someone claiming to be from Microsoft or Windows technical support calls you, we recommend the following:

-Do not purchase any software or services

- Ask if there is a fee or subscription for the “service.” If there is, hang up

- Take down the caller’s information and report it to your local authorities

- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from “Microsoft tech support”

If you are a scam victim:

- Contact your credit card or bank Fraud Prevention Team to have the charges reversed and the account protected from future charges

- Change your computer password, along with the password of any online accounts provided to the scammer

- Update your security software and run a full security scan on your computer. You may want to contact a local IT professional to have your computer checked for malware

Tell your friends and family about these scams. If more and more people are aware, then the scammers might stop bothering innocent computer users.

Don’t just take our word for it. Here are a few links:


http://netsecurity.about.com/od/securityadvisorie1/fl/How-to-Spot-a-Tech- Support-Scam.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jul/18/phone-scam-india-call- centres

For further information, see our blog at www.diamondbyte.co.uk/blog

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