Computer hackers are out there. Many of us know that. They penetrate through corporate-secured internet firewalls, send out URL links and attachments containing malware from clear across the ocean or as near as your next door neighbor and even fabricate infected websites that mirror image ones that we trust and may use on a daily basis. What will they pull next?
While this scam isn’t necessarily new, variations of it are being reported on a daily basis. The original scam had to do with computer errors. A person claiming to be from Microsoft would call and indicate that their reason for calling was to remove errors off of the person’s computer. They would ask the person to go to their computer and to push down 3 keys, usually the “Cntrl,” “Windows symbol,” and an “R” key. Doing this would give the caller access to the computer. Then, they would show the person the number of errors on their computer, which quite often would convince the person that the caller was legit and that these errors needed to be removed immediately. Once the caller has them convinced, they request payment for their services, only the caller never actually corrects any problems. In fact, it has been reported several times that someone local had to be contacted to correct the problems caused by the so-called caller from Microsoft.
Other variations of this scam involve the caller saying that they are with Windows, Technical Support or Internet Explorer. The lines the callers use are all excuses to gain access to the person’s computer. Some variations include:
- “Windows is shutting your account down, due to illegal activity on your computer. In order to stop this, we need you to go to your computer.”
- “This is Windows Support calling. You need to turn on your computer. We are receiving reports regarding massive errors on your computer.”
- “Microsoft is calling. Your computer has errors. Even though you have antivirus protection on your computer, viruses will penetrate it. We need to fix the problem immediately!”
- “This is Windows calling. We have to shut your computer down because your Validity Code needs renewed.”
- “Internet Explorer is calling. Your computer has been hacked. We want access to your computer to fix the problem.”
This is just a short list of examples of how hackers try to gain access to your computer via a simple phone call. The main thing to keep in mind here is that computer support does not make house calls. If you have other examples of this scam that you would like to report, feel free to comment below.
Also if you are a victim of this scam, turn your computer off immediately and contact someone local, someone reputable to remove the hacker’s control over your personal computer. The Federal Trade Commission may be able to assist you in getting your money back. To register a complaint with them, call them at 877-382-4357 or go to www.ftc.gov. For help in finding a reputable, computer technician, contact your local BBB or visit us at www.bbb.org.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathancohen/3945765740/”>JonathanCohen</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</