The Federal Trade Commission and the Microsoft Windows security center have put out scam alerts and warnings to educate the public about a cyber scam that begins with an innocent little phone call. The caller pretends to be a concerned technician from Microsoft Windows alerting you to a problem with your computer, and things escalate from there. The victim ends up paying money for phony services and is left with a computer infected with harmful files.
To protect yourself and keep your accounts safe, it’s not enough just to be aware that this type of scam exists. You have to be aware of how these scammers operate because they have stepped up their game.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness month; please help spread the word by sharing this list with friends, family and anyone you know who works on a computer or laptop. Use the National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015 hashtag #CyberAware in your social media messages throughout your different networks! This list was developed with the help of my client and friend we’ll call Emily, who was the recent victim of a cyber scam just last week.October is Cyber Safety Month! 5 Things to know to help you Be #CyberAware. RT plz Click To Tweet
5 Things To Help You Be #CyberAware
Should you be contacted by a scammer, you can expect the following:
- You will receive excellent customer service: Scammers are perfecting the art of customer care so that while you are on the phone with them (and paying hundreds for their phony service,) you will feel they are actually helping you. If you have questions, they will answer them; if it takes several hours to resolve the issue, they will be there. If you ask to speak to a manager, they will oblige. When they are done helping you, your computer will run better than ever (even though it will be infected with harmful spyware). Says Emily, “They even threw in a free subscription to Norton’s Anti-virus as part of the package.”
- There really may be something wrong with your computer: It’s normal for junk files to download to your computer while you are working online, and these old cached and temporary files can cause your computer to slow down. However, in newer cases, the scammers target a computer before they call, sending thousands of corrupted files that slow or stop normal programs from running. Says Emily, “The real Microsoft technician who restored my computer found that I was groomed for the crime days prior to receiving the call.”
- You will be warned about scammers: That’s right: the scammers will warn you about scammers as part of their excellent customer service. The current warnings issued from Microsoft alert consumers against giving out credit card information. The scammers will agree with you. To prove that they are in fact trustworthy, they will ask that you pay them with an E-check instead, which they claim can only be used once. They will even send you emails confirming receipt of payment.
- You will be given names and employee numbers and directed to a website: It doesn’t matter if their website has a U.S. address with the right logos and certifications that claim they are “Gold Partners” working with Microsoft. The bottom line is that Microsoft does not make unsolicited calls to their customers. Says Emily, “When I called Microsoft to confirm that they were employees, I was told to hang up the phone immediately and call my bank.”
- You won’t have to give out information about your computer; they will already have it: One of the biggest reasons these scams are so successful is that they can tell you things about your computer the minute you answer the phone. Cybercriminals access publicly available directories so they might know your name and other personal information when they call. They will also use a lot of technical language that you may not understand to make the problem sound urgent. Says Emily, “They were able to recite my IP address back to me and explained that my hard drive was in danger of crashing.”
WHAT TO DO: Educate yourself. Stay updated about the newest trends and help spread the word. Be #CyberAware. If you receive an unsolicited phone call about any computer issues, even if the phone number appears to be from a legit company, hang up the phone. If you find that you do have a computer issue, contact the real Microsoft tech support yourself.
October is Cyber Safety Month! 5 Things to know to help you Be #CyberAware. RT plz Click To Tweet