Is Your Identity at Risk? by Bill Storie
I was chatting with a friend yesterday over coffee. He was telling me about a phone call he’s received earlier in the day.
“Hello, I am Windows Help and we have detected a software problem with your computer, so I want to fix it for you.” The accent was Far East or Indian apparently. “Please hit “Control R” and in the box, type “eventmsg”. Then hit OK”
My friend didn’t type in anything.
“Have you done it yet?” Persistence seemed to be top of the list. “Please do it now.”
My mate hung up the phone.
A recent report from CBS News states that, “The elderly are a particularly ripe target, with those over age 60 accounting for roughly 37 percent of fraud victims. “
The trick here is that once the “fixer” has asked you to enter the words he will then take remote control of your device and run riot through your files and documents. You have just given him the key to your entire hard drive. Chances are that even your password-protected files will be opened. They will also place malicious software on your machine to subsequently track all your financial (and other) entries.
Sending money to the grandkids are you?
Not any more you aren’t. It has been re-directed to a foreign bank account and you have no way to trace it, far less recover the money. You’ve been scammed.
“But he sounded a nice gentleman, he was very polite and was extremely professional.”
Here’s the truth – real help desk and technical support do NOT call you, unless you have scheduled a service call.
My friend went on to Microsoft Support online and asked if they had scheduled a call to him. The answer was no. They noted the scam.
The CBS Report says that there are about 3 million Consumer Frauds in the U.S. each year. Yup, THREE MILLION with over $700 million stolen.
So, please be very careful about strange phone calls. It seems to be done by phone rather than email for example. With so much email virus software available these days, the chances of a bogus email getting through to you are relatively slim – not impossible, just slim. However, the unsuspecting phone call is a different matter.
You are in immediate and direct contact with a nice man. His chances of fooling you in are quite high. In other words, if he makes 50 calls a day, his success rate, even at a modest 10%, means that this scammer will con 5 people a day – every day. He doesn’t care that 45 slipped through the net. The average scam fraud pulls in about $1,100, so 5 a day isn’t a bad day’s work.
Make sure you are protecting yourself at all times:
- Be aware of weird phone calls.
- Be alert to what you are being asked to do.
- If it seems strange, do nothing.
- If it sounds too technical for you (like most of us), do nothing.
- Never type in what the caller tells you. Never.
- If you hang up, then be extra cautious if he calls back.
- If he persists, contact your police force or the vendor if you can e.g. Microsoft
- After the call, regardless of whether you typed in anything or not, do a Full System Scan
- Tell your friends in your local area to be on the lookout.
Losing your identity is a serious matter. Your life will be impacted.
Oh and one last thing ….. if you live alone and you get a call from a member of the opposite sex, it is highly possible that they will “chat you up” instead of using the technical scam approach. No matter how lonely you are, and how charming he/she sounds, please be very careful about getting duped into a romantic adventure. The romance will be short-lived and expensive. Not to mention “disappointing”.
And watch your pets as well 😉
”Cats have a scam going – you buy the food, they eat the food, they go away; that’s the deal.”