Carlisle business owner warns residents of phone scam involving computers [The Sentinel, Carlisle, Pa.]
(Sentinel, The (Carlisle, PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 28--UPPER ALLEN TWP. -- Three different men with heavy Indian accents called an Upper Allen Township woman three times within 24 hours this week claiming her computer was vulnerable to a cyber attack.
During one of the calls, she was asked to perform a series of tasks on her computer. The scammer then wanted her to pay $249 for the assistance.
Though it's not made headlines locally, it's a scam that's been so prevalent in the past that Microsoft addresses the issue on its website, stating that neither Microsoft nor its partners make unsolicited phone calls to charge customers for computer security or software fixes.
"One thing you can be sure of is that Bill Gates or Microsoft is not going to call you on the phone," said Frank Masland, CEO and systems engineer of Aardvark Computers in Carlisle.
Masland said scammers will usually have the victim go to something like the event viewer on a Windows computer. Most people don't look at it, but those in the computer business do frequently and confirm there will always be errors listed.
"They will make that seem as if it's bad," he said.
Then, the scammer will direct the victim to a site that will download a program allowing the scammer to gain remote access to the computer.
That's the point at which Masland said it's time to back off.
If the scammer gains access to the computer, a keylogging program could be installed to capture credit card numbers and passwords, Masland said.
Microsoft also warns scammers could request credit card information to bill for phony services or direct the victim to enter credit card and other personal information on a fraudulent website.
People think they can avoid problems with fraudulent sites by avoiding porn sites or other types of sites associated with the "bad" side of the Internet, but Masland said, "you're more likely to get one of these scams when you're looking for a cookie recipe."
That is what "grandma and grandpa" are doing online, Masland said. They're often older and less tech-savvy, so they're more likely to fall for sites touting fake virus protection programs or using legitimate Microsoft logos on illegitimate products.
Masland said the simplest thing to do to avoid being scammed is to hang up on the caller purporting to be from Microsoft.
Those who receive a questionable phone call could also ask for a number at which the caller can be reached. That number can be taken to a computer professional or to the police to be checked out, Masland said.
Those who have fallen victim to the scam should bring their computer to a shop to be examined to see if anything has been installed on the machine. They should also keep a close eye on credit card transactions and change any bank passwords that may have been stored or used on the computer, Masland said.
He also said he's never seen a legitimate site that asked for a social security number.
He recommended installing a program like "Web of Trust," a browser add-on that will warn you if a site is suspicious and also rates sites on Google as to their trustworthiness.
Scams like this come in waves, Masland said. He suspects the next wave will come in the next few months as Windows XP is discontinued, prompting scammers to trick people with the need to update software.
(c)2013 The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.)
Visit The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.) at www.cumberlink.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]