This is a heads up message to alert/remind you of a scam that is going around. To date, I have had 5 clients affected by the scam. Fortunately, no one has completely gone through with the scam and paid any money. But if you get in the conversation, it can be unnerving and the risk is high that you could loose more than money.
The scam is started in one of two ways. The first is that you get a pop up message while surfing which says (we, Microsoft, Norton, etc) has discovered your computer is (slow, has a virus, malware, dreadfully infected, etc) and you need to contact an 800 number ASAP. The second entry point is that you receive a phone call from Microsoft tech support. They will often know your name and will start in with the same pitch about computer problems, etc.
Their goal is to scare you into signing up for a $299 “service” to rid you of all the problems you have. They initiate a remote support session (like I do with your machine) and show you things on your computer that prove their case. While no one I know has had any violence done to their machine, the fact that you have granted the remote access carries the same risk as letting a menacing stranger into your house.
You can read more about this scam at http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-04/11/malwarebytes
So, what can you do to avoid being victimized?
- If you get a popup while surfing on the web, just close your browser (firefox, chrome), etc. down and restart your browser. You will most likely not see the popup again. 90% of the time, you see the pop up by clicking on an ad on a web page or by going to a very secondary web site and the pop up will not return again unless you go back to the same place. If the pop up shows again after restarting your browser; call me. It does not mean something is wrong with your machine; it means that there is a bit of malware got installed that keeps the pop up in place and is generally easily removed.
- If you get a phone call from Microsoft, Norton, Dell or anyone who wants to let you know about a serious problem with your computer, don’t bother being polite – hang up! Their spiel can be very convincing and unnerving if you allow them to get started. It is important to note that no software or computer company will proactively call you, even if your computer caught fire and burned the house down.
- Finally, call me and let me know that this incident has happened. I can do a quick check of your computer and make sure all is well.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Please feel free to forward to your friends for reference.