Fake Phone Call

incoming-call-from-scammer-image-from-shutterstockFake Phone Call: a reader asks…

I got a call yesterday, from someone saying they’re from Microsoft Tech Support. They said my computer was infected and their system determined that it needed to be cleaned. They then asked me to let them remotely access my computer so they could clean it up, but didn’t mention how much that would cost. At that point I got a little scared and hung up on them. If they call again what should I do?

That was a fake call, a scammer trying to scam you. If they call again, I’d suggest you just hang up on them. If you want, you can call them out, or lead them on (to waste their time), but under no circumstances should you let them gain remote access to your computer, nor should you take any advice they give.

Scam phone calls are rampant, especially on landlines but increasingly happening on mobile phones. There’s not much you can do other than block the caller’s number, but even that is ineffective. Scam callers use different area codes and numbers, often using your own area code and prefix to try to fool you into doing something they say. In 100% of the cases, these types of calls are scams so please don’t fall for them.

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scam-warning-screenshotNot only do they scam you by phone, but you’ll see scams from emails, from web pages, and from your computer screen. It’s pretty easy to construct a web page that fills your entire screen with a huge warning. The tip-off is that they’ll have a phone number for you to call. Do not call that number!

These days we all need to be a bit paranoid about unsolicited communications from anyone, using any communication medium. Whether it’s by phone or text message, by someone knocking on your front door, by email, by a website, by social media, or by a popup on your computer screen – if you don’t immediately recognize the source you should first think that it’s a scam. Just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s the truth.

Treat anything you see or hear with suspicion, and if you’re at all not sure about something, ask someone you know and trust (in the real world) for advice. I humbly include me, feel free to use my Ask Your Tech Coach form or send an email to support@positek.net and include details about the communication. Feel free to upload or include screenshots or audio recordings. If you want to send me a suspicious email you received, please email me and attach that email (don’t just forward the email) so that I get all the hidden header information on the email.

So again, start from the standpoint of suspicion and paranoia about unsolicited communications. These days we all have to earn each other’s trust, one person at a time.

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