Do Not Take This Call: Avoid Cyber Scams

Very recently, a very dear grandmotherly friend of mine got a phone call from someone who claimed to be Windows Tech Support.

They weren’t.

They asked her to give them access to her computer to check for viruses with a remote access tool, Team Viewer, that was very easy to install.

She did.

They explored her computer, while she watched, and told her that she had thousands of viruses on her computer.

She didn’t.

They could clean that up for her for a price.  She told them to get lost and hung up on them and closed the window to the remote session.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (click the link for more helpful tips).  How do you protect yourself (or older people who are not tech savvy) from this kind of scam?

  1. The computer companies, including Microsoft, do not like you enough to call you to check your computer for you.  They may love that you bought their software, but they will not call you.  Period.  Hang up.
  2. The sounds of a foreign-based call center and a caller with a very thick English accent on the other end of the line…. Hang up.
  3. The website they direct you to is not an official Microsoft website.  The fact that they use the word “windows” in their URL, does not make them Microsoft.  Do not download anything from their website.  Hang up.
  4. Do not, under any circumstances, give someone you don’t know or trust access to your computer.
  5. Report the call to the FTC.

While I talked to this dear friend, and got her to do a full system scan on her computer, I looked up this type of fraud on the Microsoft website, where they have some helpful tips, including this page of ways to avoid tech support phone scams.

Even people with common sense can get taken off guard by a phone call like this. Don’t be fooled.

And now for my #ROW80 Update:

  • Need to work on the back garden beds to get ready for more planting.
  • Work out and eat better.  Food does not define me.
  • Need to plan and research for a weekend of writing solitude.
  • Blogging class and logline class are in full swing.  Homework is progressing. 🙂

22 thoughts on “Do Not Take This Call: Avoid Cyber Scams

  1. darcyflynn

    Thanks for sharing this info! Even though I know this happens a lot I still find it amazing that there are people like this in the world. I tend to be very trusting of others but have learned through hearing stories like this to just hang up.
    Love your Row80 update! You inspire me!

    1. Diana Beebe Post author

      Most people are trusting of others. Sadly, that’s why scammers get away with this kind of thing. Awareness is important.

      I inspire you?! Wow! Thanks! I think you’re pretty inspirational, too! Love your WordPress URL, by the way. 😉

  2. Pauline Baird Jones

    My parents got a call saying on of their grandsons was in jail and needed bail. My brother is a cop, so they called him and he took care of it, but it gave them quite the fright. That is so cruel and evil! IMHO.

  3. Ryan King

    I got a call recently with someone trying to do that. They said we were missing an important update. They claimed to be from Microsoft. Little techie me obviously didn’t fall for it. I then decided to play with them. I asked them for the product key for the affected machine and they faltered. They couldn’t tell me. I asked them what OS was missing and which update. They couldn’t tell me. So I gave them an easy one, I asked them to just tell me the computer name of the affected machine. They couldn’t. At this point they were squirming. I finally got them to admit they weren’t microsoft and they hung up. 🙂 I love screwing with them.

    Good luck with your goals this week!

    1. Karen W

      That is awesome Ryan! I, too, received this call. Not once but twice. I knew exactly what it was the first time around and wanted so much to play with them but I just couldn’t think of anything to say. The second time around I did a little, asking them about the OS but it still wasn’t very much.

      I love your goals, especially the one about how food doesn’t define you. Good luck!

  4. John Holton

    That logline class sounds interesting. Do you have a link to it?

    It’s amazing that, now that people are pretty much wise to the spammers using email to collect personal information, they’ve moved to using the phone to get the information. People probably think that it’s all right to give out information over the phone. I’m cautious about everything these days. Call it paranoia, but it isn’t paranoia if they really are trying to take advantage of you.

    Have a good week!

    1. Diana Beebe Post author

      It’s always better to be safer than sorry, so being cautious isn’t always a bad thing.

      The logline class is through WANA International. Here’s a link to the description:
      Story in a Sentence: Creating Your Logline:
      You could inquire about the next session. I highly recommend it!

      I hope you have a good week, too!

  5. rcahill111

    It should be noted that Team Viewer itself is not a bad product and can be used in very helpful ways by people you trust. The Team Viewer product to do remote logins really has nothing to do the bad people.
    I love the emails that I get saying that I have a balance to pay on my Citi credit card or something. Recently I got one from “ADP” the payroll people on my work email that I had a payroll balance of over $49,000.
    Yesterday, I got an email from someone in China saying that someone in China was trying to register my company’s domain and that if I didn’t respond within 7 days they would let the order go through.

    1. Diana Beebe Post author

      I agree! We actually use Team Viewer with this friend and my parents to check on their PCs for them. 🙂 It’s nice that you can instantly change the passcode.

      Spammers are trying really hard to get creative. I know two people who had their emails hacked–I got messages from both of them in the same week that they were stuck in Spain and needed money to get home. No one I know would ever send out an email message like that.

      1. rcahill111

        Yeah, I’ve gotten ones like that before too. I’ve used Team Viewer and LogMeIn for support. I use TeamViewer for supporting my website users when they have issues that I need for them to show me.

        My parent’s computers are all connected to my LogMeIn account so that I can tunnel into them easily and help them out with security settings, etc. I am so grateful for the remote access tools so that I am not having this conversation, “Do you see the X button? OK, click that. Now click the X link. It’s right there. No, not there, just below that. You don’t see it? Okay, what screen are you on? I have no idea where you are at. Ugggh!”
        Every time I used to go to my parents, my dad would have a computer task for me to complete. Usually it was something little that had me at their computer for only a few hours. LOL Thankfully, both of my brothers, now grown up, are also more savvy with computers and they have pretty much filled in that role! I get the big items only now. LOL

  6. Natalie Hartford

    Sucks that there are people out in the world who would do this. Bastards. But great tips and tricks for the rest of Diana. Thanks so much for sharing. They don’t want to call me….LOL!!

  7. Julie Glover

    Great advice, Diana! I am learning that I have to coach my teens on this stuff too because they don’t automatically recognize scams every time. Basically, anytime someone calls YOU and asks for access or information from your account, it’s a no go. Thanks for the reminder!

    Keep at that ROW80! Good to see some progress.

    1. Diana Beebe Post author

      Julie, you’re right about teaching our children about this, too. That’s good advice!

      Thanks so much for the encouragement. Have a great week yourself! 🙂

  8. shanjeniah

    Diana –

    Who ever thought coming up with one sentence to describe an entire novel would be easy?

    Me, before I started this class and actually tried to DO it….like you, I am making progress. I think I have narrowed my focus to what is essential, and maybe even given it a little zing…but there is still a ways to go, I think…

    You seem to be making progress with your ROW goals, as well. =D

    And a gentle reminder about the perils of scammers is never amiss. My 11 year old and I discuss these things often, and I’ve given him the stock line, “Let me go check with my mom (or dad).”

    That really shuts down scammers of all kinds – a kid who trusts his parents!

    1. Diana Beebe Post author

      That’s always a great thing when our kids do that. 🙂 We’ve done the same with ours–if you don’t know if you should answer a question, turn it back on your parents.

      The logline class has been eye opening for me, too. I thought I’d worked that logline over until Marcy got a hold of it. 🙂 Have a great week!

  9. Pingback: Oh, Sandy! – ROW80 Goals Update, Oct. 28,2012 « shanjeniah

  10. Pingback: Pauline Baird Jones’ Friday Video Fun – Life Happens. A Lot.

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