You may have heard this story before. A computer owner gets a phone call from a representative claiming to be from a computer repair company. This representative could have a number of things to say. Sometimes, they tell you there are some updates that need to be paid for and installed. Or, they might say that there is a dire problem with a virus on your computer, and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. They use official sounding language to reassure you that the phone call is valid, and then persuade you to give them information, or access to your computer. Sometimes, they may have already infiltrated the machine, and will begin to remotely manipulate information and files. Once this counterfeit repair person has access to your computer, they can steal important financial or password information. They can also install harmful programs and viruses, or cause your computer to lock up, and refuse to unlock it until you pay money for “repairs.” This dangerous scam has affected people across the country, and has even prompted the West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to alert WV residents to this danger.
Avoid Falling Prey to This Scheme
It is important for you to realize that it is incredibly unlikely that anyone calling you unsolicited will actually have any information about your computer. In most of these cases, you would need to give them specific information in order for them to gain access to your machinery and programs. Unless you have a way to confirm, without a doubt, that the call is genuine, don’t give ANY information out. If they already have access to your computer and are manipulating things on the screen while talking to you, the problem may be more serious. These scam artists may attempt to hold your computer “hostage” and refuse to unlock it until you pay them. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is shut your computer down immediately, and take it offline. This will prevent them from wreaking any further havoc with your hardware or information. Then take your computer to a local IT support company or computer repair shop, which you trust. They can help you solve your problems legitimately.
Keep Up With Repairs and Security Regularly
The best way to avoid falling for this kind of scam is to keep up with regular security updates and maintenance on your computer. If you stay up to date in this area, then you will have no reason to believe a false call from someone pretending to be from your computer company. It is also wise to visit your computer company’s site regularly, to stay informed about updates they are releasing and warnings they put out to protect you from scams. Microsoft has a warning on their website letting customers know that they are not making these phone calls to customers, to prevent people from falling for this malicious trap. Staying informed is the best way to protect yourself.