There are a number of IT-related tech support phone scams doing the rounds at the moment. We don’t want you to fall prey to these scammers so this is what to be on the look (or listen) out for:
Types of scams
Tech support scams try all sorts of stories and techniques to gain access to your computer so that they can steal your details.
Some will call and say that there is a virus on your computer and they are here to help you remove it.
They claim to be from the helpdesk of Microsoft or BT (or another well-known company) and talk you through downloading a piece of software so that they can access your computer and then they will remove the “virus”. It turns out that this piece of software is actually spyware and they use this to steal your personal details.
Other scammers will request remote access so that they can fix the issue (and steal your details whilst on there!)
How they work
The attacker calls using a virtual number appearing to be from your area, as this will encourage you to pick up the phone. They then say that they are from Microsoft (for example) and the user’s ISP has detected malware on the computer which they are able to get rid of.
The victim is then asked to download legitimate remote control software such as GotoMyPC or TeamViewer. The caller then takes control of their PC whilst chatting them through what is happening.
The scammer then uses scare tactics and asks you to bring up Event Viewer which they claim shows evidence of malware. Event Viewer actually displays errors and warnings for programmes that haven’t started properly etc. They may also ask you to look at Windows Prefetch files (used to launch programs faster) and msconfig which will then display a number of “stopped” programmes. Both of these are further “evidence” of a virus on your computer!
The next step is for them to get you to download programmes such as GotoMyPC or TeamViewer. They can then access your computer and will proceed to fix the problem, once you have paid their fee. The technician will ask for payment by credit card or paypal.
Once the hacker has collected the fees, they will most likely do nothing to your computer. However the more malicious hackers will install malware or gain access to sensitive information which can be used for identity theft.
If you decide to change your mind and NOT pay the fee, then they may try to destroy your personal files, and even cutting off your internet connection.
What to do
If you have been a victim of one of these phone scammers then you can follow some of these tips:
- Always be highly suspicious of unsolicited calls
- Never give unauthorised strangers access to your computer
- If you have given access and then you realise it is a scam revoke remote access – restart your computer if you are struggling to end the remote access programme
- Scan your computer for malware
- Change all passwords to email, banking etc
- Report it, Which have a good guide on how to report these phone scams
Remember that North London IT Support is here to help safeguard your computers and business from these scammers. Contact us to find out how we can help.