Today is Thanksgiving Day and for the first in a very long time is also the first day of Hanukkah a lot of you reading this are likely spending the morning either cooking or preparing to eat a huge meal.
But later tonight a lot of you are going to be online and tomorrow even more are going to be out for Black Friday looking for deals many of you looking for computers and tablets, not only for yourselves but for older relatives.
Many people, particularly older ones are still fairly computer illiterate and many who have been using computers etc for a while know nothing about how the machines actually work.
More importantly as computes have progressed so has computer fraud. Every year the fraudsters have become smarter and smarter finding new and ingenious ways to separate people from their personal information and ultimately their money.
I’m not in that business anymore but the folks at Bernard PC are. The Bossman Bernie told me about a new threat that he’s been dealing with lately and was kind enough to write up this warning for DaTechGuy readers (I intermix my own comments within):
An overseas call center posing as Microsoft has been calling people at their homes, claiming to be Microsoft, and claiming to have knowledge of a virus in your computer.
These calls are a hoax.
As a general rule most spammers don’t expose themselves this way. It’s a clever move on their part, nobody is going to think the guy on the phone is a spammer. Bernie continues…
The caller makes it sound urgent, and tries to talk the victims into clicking through some screens that give them access to your computer.
As a person who used to do Tech Support this takes time and effort it’s exactly the type of thing a real tech support person might to. It lulls the mark into a false sense of security.
They then proceed to open event viewers and other system logs to search for even the most minor errors and then try to convince the victim that they have a serious virus that needs to be addressed immediately.
As soon as those folks who have never seen an event viewer or system lag see those red X’s, “!” points and yellow warning triangles they’ll be convinced that they’re in more trouble than a Thanksgiving Cook who realizes at 10 AM his oven doesn’t work.
It’s at this point, Dear Reader, where they ask for those coveted credit card digits. If these folks call you, we suggest saying “not interested” or nothing at all, and hanging up on them. This is a scam that preys on the lack of knowledge and a fear they help to create in order to con you out of about $100.
What’s the best kind of scam, the type of scam when the person involved doesn’t realize their scammed. As far as the mark is concerned that $100 to $150 charge is just payment for services rendered.
If you really have a virus, there is not a company in the world that is going to call you to tell you unless you have paid them in advance to monitor such an event. And, Microsoft is not in the antivirus business. Even companies like Symantec and McAfee aren’t going to call you to tell you that you have a virus, and antivirus is what they do.
But that’s not the worst of it. Not only do these fraudsters have your credit card info, info that they can sell or access at any time they wish, they get remote access to your system as they install their “fix” which may harvest all kinds of information from your license keys (that can be resold and mess you up when it becomes a duplicate) to contact lists (than can be used to mark new targets) and of course if you have your tax forms etc or bank info, they’ve hit the motherload! All of these things are things valuable commodities on the black market of internet crime.
And if they are REALLY smart then in 6 months or nine months or a year they will call you back, mention their previous call and say this is a follow up and lo and behold when they check that system, the virus were back and they’ll be happy to fix it again for you, for another $150 fee of course.
Think about it, even without selling all that other info with only two victims a day five days a week a scammer can make $75,000 a year with two weeks vacation and weekends off and if he or she has a friendly manor they might even get their victims to recommend them to their friends. That is the Pièce de résistance.
May I be so bold as to suggest that if you find yourself getting such a call or suspect that you might have your system infected you give my friends at Bernard PC a call at 774-322-6045 and they will take care of you.
But don’t do it on Thanksgiving day or Black Friday. Bernard PC is closed both days so those days can be enjoyed.
Some might thing this isn’t a proper post for thanksgiving but if being warned against a scam before it robs you isn’t cause to give thanks, what is?
Thanksgiving day is here I still need those 9 tip jar hitters at $25 or twelve at $20 means to make “payroll” & mortgage.
Please consider being one of them.
We are offering sponsorships of both the Magnificent Seven & the Magnificent Panel now is an excellent time to jump on board, contact me here for more details