The growing number of computers per household all over the world has offered scammers a variety of fraud ideas. One of the latest telephone scams reveals criminals calling house numbers, claiming to be Microsoft technicians offering “free security checks”. Once they get the victims’ trust to get them logging into their computers, the scammers get either remote access to the machines or trick them to give away credit card number information. This is also known as the Scareware Scam. Quite a few people seem to have already fallen for this scam and taken for hundreds of dollars.
According to a survey done by Microsoft, 16% of their product users have received such phone calls. You can get one too, not necessarily from “Microsoft techies”, but from fake Apple, Samsung, Google reps, etc.
These companies are so busy already offering tech support - it’s probably impossible for them to call you, instead of the other way around.
So, what do you do if you did get fooled into providing information and remote access to these scam artists? Well, here you go:
- Let this be a lesson to you. Never provide information to a stranger who initiates the call. If you called Microsoft or any other organization, that is different. You know who you have reached. If you received a call, you have no idea who the person on the other end is.
- Report it to the cops. Most police departments have an electronic crimes group. Remember that they do have to investigate more serious crimes and your few hundreds of dollars is not very high priority to them. While they may not act on one or two complaints, they may have to if enough people complain.
- Use a different computer (or a trusted friend’s or family member’s) and change all your bank/financial institution/credit card account passwords. Make sure that you set a strong unique password.
- Change your router password and make sure that remote web administration on the router is disabled.
- Regularly monitor your credit card accounts and bank accounts and raise any suspicious transactions with the institution right away. If you provided your credit card information to the caller, get your card replaced
- Disable remote access on your computer.