This past May, we blogged about a scam where someone calls and claims to be from Microsoft. We’re talking about it again because we continue to receive calls about this issue.
Just this week alone (it’s only Tuesday), we’ve had several calls from customers who received phone calls from people claiming to be with “Windows” or Microsoft. The callers had foreign accents and tried to convince our customers to grant them access to their computers. One customer let them on, others did not.
Please underscore this in your thinking – Microsoft and Apple (let alone a fictional company called “Windows”) do not call customers out of the blue. They just don’t. If you’ve had no prior service inquiry with them and haven’t been issued an incident number, they won’t be calling you! Should you receive a call like this, just hang up. You’re not being rude, you’re being wise!
When people do stay on the phone, here are some of the things the callers say in an effort to trick users into letting them onto their computer (and possibly buying their product):
1) “We’ve had reports that your computer is running slowly.”
Here’s a thought: just about EVERYONE thinks their computer is running slowly. And, compared to when it was right out of the box, it probably is running more slowly – because programs and updates have been added. These bogus callers count on you thinking your computer has slowed down. Don’t fall for this trick!
2) “Your computer has lots of errors and needs to be fixed. See for yourself. Go to the START Menu; in the search field, type Event Viewer. When it appears at the top, click on it. After the Event Viewer opens, under Custom Views, click Administrative Events. Look at all those errors!”
Guess what? In any Windows PC, even if it is running perfectly, the Administrative Events log will have lots of entries – yellow warnings and red critical errors. Most computer users aren’t aware of this because they never go look at this log. These scam artists count on you not knowing that there are always warnings and errors in this log. Tons of activities take place on your computer most of which you aren’t even aware; many times, one activity interferes with another until the processor gets things running smoothly. So, don’t let anyone fool you with this one.
3) “Your computer is missing some important Windows updates.”
This ploy is often used shortly after the second Tuesday of the month. Why? Because that’s the day Microsoft issues the majority of its security updates. So, if the caller can convince you that there are updates missing, he or she might be able to scare you into allowing them onto your computer.
Here’s the bottom line: you should not allow anyone onto your computer remotely unless: you know they are who they say they are; you called them; and, they are logging onto your computer for a specific problem.
Whether you are one of our Remote Technical Support customers or not, if you ever do allow someone onto your computer and you’re worried that they might have been running a scam, feel free to log into our Remote and we’ll make sure they didn’t put anything on your computer which doesn’t belong!