I wrote about this scam back in September, but both my clients and the Douglas County Attorney are telling me that it’s back in full force. While the scam varies, it usually goes something like this:
You receive a call supposedly from Microsoft, Dell, or your ISP (Knology, Time Warner, AT&T, etc) telling you they have detected a problem with your computer or are simply calling to inform you about an important security update to your system. Sometimes the caller ID will even say “Microsoft.”
Considering how often security updates and problems are in the news (and the risks thereof), as a good consumer you want to be proactive and enthusiastically take their advice and go to the website they recommend. Some will even be “kind” enough to remotely control your computer and fix the problem for you.
DON”T GO TO THE WEBSITE
Sometimes the website will install a virus on your computer but the latest version of this scam is the installation of remote control software that allows them to “fix” the problem for you. They might even encourage you to watch. You just gave a complete stranger complete access to all the personal, private and confidential information on your computer! Behind the scenes, they can transfer files right off your computer, steal your passwords and even leave behind software to help others break into your computer. You just handed over the keys to everything on your computer to a stranger. Pictures of your children, your credit cards. Do I need to continue?
I won’t say 100% for certain that your ISP won’t call you with a problem, but before you install or do anything be sure to call them back and verify what’s up – and never give remote access to your computer to a stranger. All our technicians identify themselves and go through a background check and security screen to make sure they are trustworthy. We aren’t “badge numbers” or “extensions”, we are Dave, Noah, and Devin (currently, but we are hiring).
Other support companies have warned me about a terrifying variation of this scam. Since I’m the top result for “computer repair Lawrence KS’ the bad guys might pose as one of my technicians over the phone and request remote access to your system. Fortunately I doubt many of our clients will fall for that. We keep strong personal relationships with clients and they know the sound of our voices. If I thought a security breach had occurred in a customer’s system, I call the customer personally and discuss it with them. Typically, I am clued in via spam I’ve received,or maybe I noticed something amiss on their Facebook. We’ll always offer to set up an appointment to take a look at it rather than simply refer them to a website. It’s part of the personal service we provide and why we are successful at what we do. If someone calls at random claiming to be from DoctorDave and asks you to do something with your computer, hang up and call us immediately–it most likely isn’t us. Mention Tova too, because the scammers hate cute dogs