SCAM ALERT: Computer Support Phone Calls

A few weeks ago, one of my customers told me that she’d received an unsolicited call from someone who claimed to be from Virgin Media,saying that they’d received “complaints” from her neighbours that the internet was slow. This company then told her that the problem wascaused by her computer… Fortunately, she got off the phone before giving away any personalinformation and she phoned me straight away to check that she’d done the right thing. I was able to reassure her that what she did was perfect.

Then a couple of days ago, I too was targeted. I received a call on my home line from someone who sounded like they were calling from an international call centre. They said that “Windows” had informed them of a problem with my computer and they were phoning to assist me. Detecting another scam, I decided to play along to see what they were up to, and to enable me to warn others. Here is a brief summary of what they asked me to do: They took me to my Windows Event Viewer, the part of your system that logs errors. They then asked me to count the number of errors showing. Using this information they tried to frighten me into believing that my system was failing and
transferred me to their “technician”. As even a healthy system can have numerous historical errors and warnings in their event logs, the skill is in knowing whether they are current and actually causing a problem. He wanted remote access to my computer and quoted me £80 – £300 for a support package. I hung up in disgust that someone would attempt to con me into paying to repair a problem free computer. I then called Microsoft and Trading Standards to report them. The sooner these charlatans are stopped the better, as they bring the whole IT
industry into disrepute.

The problem is that not everyone is as knowledgeable as I am, and I can imagine that many people are taken in by this unscrupulous technique. So if you receive a call, and you recognise any of the above,then here’s my advice: NEVER follow the instructions of a stranger to type anything into your computer – unless you absolutely know what it is going to do Ask them direct questions about who they are – don’t be taken in by names that sound like Microsoft, Windows, Apple, BT, or any other large company Never allow a complete stranger remote access to your computer Don’t engage in a conversation, just say you’re not interested and HANG UP.

If you have a real computer, business or home technology problem and you need assistance from a reputable local company call Ashford Computer Solutions.
Steve Newman – Ashford Computer Solutions 01233 469 217