This evening we had an interesting phone call from Microsoft…well apparently. I knew I shouldn’t have answered the phone. I rarely do, screening most of our phone calls. But this evening my radar was off. I’ll have to get that tweaked!
Anyway… An Indian lady told me about error reports coming from Windows on my computer as the result of a malicious virus I had apparently downloaded. I heard “computer” and “errors” and figured this was hubby’s department. I was already more than a little suspicious though. Why would Microsoft care if my computer was under attack?!
Hubby got the spiel again and started to drill the lady about what program, what error messages and asking for specific details. But she wouldn’t (read “couldn’t) provide further information and would just repeat what she’d already said.
She did try to tell us that she’d sent us information but we hadn’t replied…implying an “email” was sent but when hubby asked her to email it again, she tweaked her story to imply that it had been posted.
Amidst all of this she was prompting hubby to go to the computer so she could “lead us through a fix”. Big NO-NO in the computer world and Hubby told her so. I believe his words were, “No way Love”, followed by a prompt, “Goodnight!” and hanging up the phone.
Of course I Googled it straight away. Stacks of matches popped up. (I won’t add links as I don’t know what other content is on these sites.)
– Fake tech support call
– Beware: Telephone Support Scams
– Virus phone scam
So why am I sharing? Not homeschool related. Not child related. Only marginally family related. And not exactly thrilling reading. Well I wanted to make my readers aware of the scam. It’s such a simple thing to fall prey to. These callers don’t have to work hard to make you feel like your precious computer is at serious risk. And I bet they know their stuff when it comes to directing you around your own computer until they have control of it and can use it how they please.
If Hubby had followed the Indian lady’s instructions she would have taken him to a directory on our computer and tried to lead him into thinking we had a virus. She would then have instructed him on how to download a fix which would have given them remote access to our computer allowing them do whatever they wanted with our computer and internet access. My fear is that lots of people wouldn’t know any better and would just comply out of fear or confusion.
It’s just so easy to fall prey to scammers. You can’t rely on your hunches – “Oh they sounded so sincere”. Legitimate important callers will run through a series of verifications that will assure you, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are who they say they are.
We have a few general telemarketer rules in our house, aside from don’t pick up the phone. I know I know. I broke rule number one!
– Don’t give out personal information. I won’t even repeat my name or phone number for them. If they are calling ME then they should know that already. My lips are sealed!!
– Never DO anything they ask you to, whether it be to press a number on your phone to check something or, AND ESPECIALLY, if it’s press something on your computer. If it relates to the computer then alarm bells should go off.
– We also don’t buy or donate over the phone unless we called them of course. Oh and the same goes for door to door people. They’re all wasting their time at our house. If we want to buy something we’ll seek them out and NOT the other way around.
So readers BEWARE of the Indian Microsoft woman (or whoever she says she is next week) who wants your computers and everything important to you. And (note to self) let the machine take the calls!!