Sometime this week you or someone you know of may receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a “Windows Technician”. This is a telemarketing scam.
Warning, the real Microsoft will never initiate a call to you out of the blue to tell you that there is a problem with your computer. If you call them, they will call you back but they will never just call you to troubleshoot a problem with your computer that they detected. When asked if they work for Microsoft, the “techs” will usually say no and will go on to say that Microsoft will never call you directly and that if you ever get a call from them you should know it’s a scam. Guess what, it’s STILL A SCAM!
This is the typical scenario: The caller or “tech” wants access to “fix” your computer because it’s been hacked or has a computer virus and only they know how to fix the problem. They ask you for permission to access the computer and if you let them in, they will do damage to your computer. The tech will be very convincing and after showing the person a few things that could only be a virus infection or a hacker hacking the computer, the person agrees that there is a problem and agrees to pay the tech to fix the computer and or buy a protection package.
This example above is occurring more frequently. The scammers are making a lot of money using this scheme. If they weren’t making money they wouldn’t be doing it. If it cost $1000 to fix your computer one time they would never make any money, but for the low price of $150 your computer is “protected” for a year. The caller is using your fear to rationalize purchasing protection and authorizing access to your computer to ensure your data is safe. Many people store everything on their computer (including me) and there is a real fear that they may lose everything if they remain unprotected and hacked.
Here are a few suggestions to prevent getting a call from a “Windows Tech”:
– Do not open email attachments from anyone unless you know the sender and are expecting them to send you something. This will protect you from getting email viruses
– Free anti-virus software usually isn’t enough to protect your computer effectively. Popular anti-virus brand names that may be purchased are:
– Turn on Windows Update and have Windows manage your updates for you
– Back up important data at least 2 or 3 times a year (mark it in your calendar) to a portable hard drive. (Hard drives are inexpensive)
– Be careful about what websites you go to
– Leave User Account Control turned on even on the lowest setting
– Use another program like Malwarebytes, SpyBot or CCleaner or a combination of these
Following these suggestions will help you to prevent data loss if you do get a virus or your computer has a problem (such as hard drive failure…etc.).
If you still get a call from a “Windows Technician”, tell them that your computer tech friend said that your computer is fine and they’ll hang up.