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The genuine ones do not phone you. Your internet provider, your bank, Microsoft etc. If you get a call – just put the phone down – don’t hesitate – it’s a scam.
In recent weeks people have approached me both during and after an incident, I get a phone call from someone who tells me that they have a Microsoft, BT or TalkTalk technician on the phone who says there are problems with their computer or broadband or even an upgrade to their router. Stop, put the phone down.
These people are very convincing and often sound professional, their aim is to get into your computer to steal your information and get as much money out of you as they can. They offer often useless or free software at hugely inflated prices and there it is not without possibility that any software they provide may be set up to steal information. Here are some of the things they may tell you:
“We recently refunded too much money into your bank account and we need you to enter your bank details on this screen so we can take back some of the money.”
“We notice that you have recently been experiencing slower than usual broadband speeds and problems with your internet connection.”
“We have received notices of error messages from your computer and your PC has been infected with viruses.”
“We see that you have problems with your router.”
“We will compensate you for the inconvenience of this call.”
There have been many occasions where the owner of the computer has been told that if they don’t pay then their internet will be cut off or/and their computer will be locked out, the latter is common, upon rebooting your computer after a fraudster has had access to it one is presented with a small square log in screen that requests a password, a password you do not have, yes you are locked out of your computer. If this was not bad enough you then find out your computer needs to be cleaned and it’s operating system need to be reinstalled. There is a way to put this right without reinstalling Windows but as there is no guarantee that the fraudster has not installed something else that can silently steal your information, so a reinstall is the best option. All your files, in most cases can be backed up and put back afterwards.
There is something else.
It is also common for people to search for a solution to their printer problem, email problem or internet problem. These fraudsters know what you are searching for, the next thing you know is that you have landed on a page promising a quick and effective solution to your problem, a prominent telephone number is also displayed and often with the name of the manufacturer in question. This also is most likely to be a scam, you call the number and very quickly get through to a technician who promises to sort things out – you could be letting yourself into a lot of problems.
The best thing to do if you want to investigate your own computer problem is to go directly to the manufacturers website for example, www.epson.com or www.hp.co.uk or www.microsoft.com etc. It is possible however that if your computer does have what’s known as a dns redirect (your website navigation to certain sites gets redirected to a malicious site) or something similar then even attempting to go to a legitimate site could land you somewhere that is not. If in doubt then contact your local repair shop for advice
Companies such as Microsoft, HP and BT ect do not readily advertise a telephone number in a blatant enough to prompt you to call, usually you have to look for it and even if you do call them you are unlikely to get through to a technician straight away.
A favourite software program these fraudsters use, there are two of them and both are actually legitimate companies however, because they are free to download and install they are used. I have placed two images below so if you are asked to download one of these then don’t.
This link leads to the Ammyy Admin website where they have put up a warning about their software being used by these fraudsters. Click here to read it.
TalkTalk has recently begun blocking access to Teamviewer’s website in order to protect customers. I say again that these two companies are legitimate but unfortunately fraudsters are using it in this way.
Remember, Microsoft, your bank, internet provider, BT, Talk Talk etc will never phone you. Stay safe and just hang up.