Chances are that you or someone you know has received an unsolicited phone call explaining that they are from “Microsoft Security“. They’ll tell you that they’ve detected viruses or other malware on your computer in an attempt to trick you into giving them remote access or paying for software you don’t need.
If you get a call like this… HANG. UP. THE. PHONE!
They might even sound convincing because they use your full name. These scammers get your name and other basic information from public directories or your school’s website, and might even guess what computer software you’re using, all in a way to gain your confidence. It’s all so scary sounding, that many drop their guard and let the bad guys in. Any caller who creates a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics is most probably a scam artist.
Once in your computer, they might even install software that steals each of your keystrokes, sending things like your usernames and passwords onto other criminal enterprises.
Here are a few more tips:
- Don’t give control of your computer to a third party who calls you out of the blue.
- Do not rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller. Criminals spoof caller ID numbers. They may appear to be calling from a legitimate company or a local number, when they’re not even in the same country as you.
- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from tech support.
- If a caller pressures you to buy a computer security product or says there is a subscription fee associated with the call, hang up. If you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly and ask for help.
- Never give your password on the phone. No legitimate organization calls you and asks for your password.
Make sure to talk about this with your co-workers, parents, kids and friends as well. A few minutes of conversation can prevent a huge amount of pain in getting your computer and financial life back in order.