We’ve hear reports recently about conmen passing themselves off as Microsoft employees persuading PC owners they’ve detected a ‘problem’ on their machine.
What they want is access to your computer to grab online banking details or private information. At the very least they’ll charge an extortionate amount for a service that might well be free.
This scam was brought home to us when one of our own customers, a member of what we like to think of as our iSAAC Support community, booked a PC health check.
While I was working at their home, they mentioned they’d been rung by someone claiming to be from Microsoft who said he had detected thousands of problems on their PC. The customer allowed him remote access to their machine and, after installing a security program (which is free from Microsoft) and his own remote access programme, he charged £270 for the work!
Luckily I recognised the scam and advised them to contact their credit card company. They instantly got a £270 refund on their card and I was able to remove all unwanted software from their PC.
Tips to protect yourself from computer scammers
• No PC company, not even Microsoft, can see if your computer has a problem. If you get an unsolicited call offering help, just hang up.
• Never give log-on, password details or PINs over the phone.
• Never allow a stranger remote access to your computer.
What should you do if you think you’ve been scammed?
My customer felt a bit embarrassed that they’d been duped but these scammers are professional and very convincing. If you suspect you’ve been a victim, ring the police. Then call in a trusted IT support business to give your machine a health check and remove unwelcome software.
If our customers are in doubt, we’re always happy to take a call and confirm if we think it’s a scam. We’d rather have a false alarm than have one of our clients duped.
Finally, we’d advise you to arrange routine health checks for your machine from an IT support firm you trust, so you can be confident that your machine is safe and functioning properly.