Scams have been around for a very long time, but with the advent of technology, scam artists claiming to be computer repair technicians have found new ways to get money out of unsuspecting victims. Recently, a new method has come to light and it was reported by CBS Pittsburgh on August 18. It is sort of a new twist on an old idea, but it certainly is causing quite a few people some big headaches.
The Phone Call
It all begins with a phone call when someone on the other end of the line says they are from Microsoft or Apple or some other computer manufacturer. This is the part of the scam that is old. People have been calling and claiming you have computer issues for a while. However, the old scam would have you download a virus so that they could have access to your sensitive files.
Things are different now. According to the reporter at CBS, this new twist on the scam begins with a phone call and a supposed computer repair technician stating that you need to go to a website to repair your system.
When unsuspecting victims do go to the website, they don’t download a virus. Instead, they click on a button that gives remote control of the machine to someone else. Here is where things get really hairy. If you get this far in the process, then you have been scammed and you are about to be stuck. That’s because you have given control over your machine to the scammers. If you hang up the phone, they can lock your computer down and you will be left with an inoperable system.
Then, they will tell you that they need to repair your machine and they will require a credit card. As the norm, they will charge about $300-$500 on your card, put a few flashy graphics on the screen and claim they did something that made your computer work again. The problem is, they did absolutely nothing but give you a headache.
It’s Not a Virus
The most important thing to remember is that this is not a computer virus scam, so even if you have quality antivirus software on your machine and even if you go to a computer support company to get advice on software, none of this will matter because you will be the one who chooses to go along with the scam.
So, your best defense against this issue is to be aware. No company like Microsoft or Apple will call you and state that there is a problem with your machine. The computer has diagnostics built right in to give you warnings when something is malfunctioning. Another thing you can do is take a look at your caller ID. Often, these scammers will call from a Caribbean island or another country. That isn’t always the case, so don’t assume that caller ID is a foolproof method of avoiding the scam.
If you get a phone call like this and you do go to the website, do not give the caller your credit card number. Instead, seek computer help immediately from professionals.
If you find yourself the victim of this scam and you need computer support, then contact us at computer-help.com today. And, remember that if you do hire someone to work on your machine remotely, you should check to ensure they are a reputable company and be sure you found them and they did not call you out of the blue.