How would you feel if somebody suddenly calls you out of the blue and tells you that a potentially harmful computer virus infecting your system and that they are to help you remove them… and while you’re still quite surprised, thinking of how could this be, they ask for your credit card number?
Well, numerous reports have been given by people receiving such kind of phone calls. As the voice on the phone sounds authoritative and official, there are some individuals, afraid of losing important data, who get tricked into divulging their bank account details and promptly fall victim to yet another scam that has nothing but the intention of swindling money from people.
Mostly, these scammers have PC and Mac owners as their target. They pose as people working from Microsoft other nationally established technical company. They would claim that they have been doing remote scanning on computers and found a number to have been infected with viruses. And then, banking on anybody’s fear of losing very important and confidential data or the possibility of identity theft, they are able to convince some unsuspecting users to give them actual access to their computers.
Once these cyber criminals would gain access to a person’s system, they would have some official and alarming error messages appear on their screen and then, a notice would come up that for cleanup of the said computer virus. Moreover, they would also offer protection from having the said malware attack again with a protection software. All these notices are presented in such an urgent manner that one would think of purchasing them immediately but the reality is what this cunning computer virus does is to capture a victim’s banking or credit card information.
If you feel that something about the sudden phone call is fishy, stick to your gut and hang up because you’re absolutely right. Scammers can look for public information about you on the web so it’s easy for them to obtain information like your name and phone number, which they’ll use to their advantage when they make that call. As they can also guess the operating system of your computer, they can sound pretty convincing too.
That’s why it’s important to arm yourself with information and awareness about this modus operandi so you would not join the growing list of unfortunate preys. For starters, keep in mind that any known and established technical company would NEVER never do a remote scan of computers without seeking permission from the owner. Furthermore, it is not in their standard operating procedure to call users unless they are currently having contact with them in dealing with an issue that needs their technical support.
If you happen to receive such phony calls, here are some tips on how to deal with it:
- End the call and then call the the company that caller claimed he is from to do a verification. You can easily find the contact number of the company from their website.
- Even if they can sound pretty convincing as a technical support of an technical company, never ever give any of your banking or credit card account details over the telephone.
- Unless the caller can provide that he is indeed an official employee of the computer company from where you have an existing support account, refrain from giving anyone remote access to your computer system over a cold call.
If you have already fallen into their trap, do the following steps immediately:
- Call your bank or credit card company and report the incident to their fraud prevention department so that charges can be reversed and your account will be protected from any charges in the future.
- Change passwords that you have unwittingly given to the scammer, from computer password to any of your online accounts.
- Have your computer software updated and then run a full scan run on your computer.
Because of the fear of losing very important, crucial data, there are some users, who unfortunately, get victimized by such scammers. Hence, it’s important to arm yourself with information regarding this latest hocus pocus, be alert for any phony calls so you can recognize it immediately and help in making others aware of this as well so that together, we can all do steps in overcoming this scam.