“Beware: Windows Scam” by Joan Y. Edwards
On November 5, 2014 a scammer posing as a person in customer service for windows computers called me. He said, “I am from Windows computers. Your computer has been sending error messages to windows. Your computer could be giving personal information to hackers.”
He called from a cell phone number. This was a clue that he wasn’t necessarily from a company. If a phone call is from a major company, its name would probably show up in my caller ID.
I asked him, “What is my name?”
He didn’t answer that. He only had the name our phone was listed, my husband’s. He said, “Is _____ your husband? Let me talk with him. When will he be home?”
I told him, “My husband doesn’t own the computer.”
I asked him, “What kind of computer do I have?”
The scammer answered, “All brands of Windows computers have this software on them that send Windows messages when it receives malicious software. You have gone to different websites and downloaded malicious items from them.”
I said, “I have software to keep malicious things off of my computer.”
Then I hung up.
If you have an answering machine and caller ID, it’s a good idea to let people from unknown numbers, leave a message. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. Scammers, I think, want to speak directly to a real person. They are not likely to leave a message, but they might.
If I had fallen for his scam, the man would have charged me a fee with my credit card to download software for him to take remote control of my computer. He would tell me, “I’m going to remove all the malicious software off of it.”
Probably, what the scamming man would really do is get all personal information from my computer…bank accounts, social security, passwords, etc.
Scammers may pretend to be from phone companies who handle the internet for customers, too. These companies do not have enough time to call all their customers about possible viruses or other malicious software on the customer’s computers. They have enough problems keeping the internet and phone service going.
Here are links that explain this scam more:
- If you’re not having any kind of problem with your computer, don’t let them invent one for you. I went to a You-Tube video and watched an actual recording of one of the Windows scammers. The language got rough at the end. So I’m not putting the link to it. However, in it, I learned that the scammers may direct you to look at an area of your computer where your computer log is kept and show you warning messages there. They will lead you to believe that these warnings are about a virus infecting your computer, but they probably aren’t. It could be a warning about the clock being off. These warnings and errors are usually not the kind of thing to worry about according to Leo A. Notenboom. He explains further in an online article about the event viewer in a computer’s log: http://ask-leo.com/what_is_the_event_viewer_and_should_i_care.html
Leo says, “Go ahead and browse around in the Event Viewer. Don’t panic when you see lots of warnings or errors. As I said, even a functioning computer will have those. In fact, if you look while your system is functioning normally, you’ll get a sense of what “normal” looks like in your Event Log. Then, later when you see items that seem suspicious, out of place, or seem to be related to the problems you’re seeing, that’s information worth paying attention to.”
- Scammers use legitimate remote control software from AMMYY (Remote Control from Any Place) – This software is free however, scammers may try to charge you for it. http://www.welivesecurity.com/2012/08/24/ammyy-warning-against-tech-support-scams/
- Spammers say they falsely tell you they know your computer ID. They take you to a part of your computer with the CLSID: 888DCA60. This is not the distinct ID unique number that is different on each computer. This ID is the class number signifying that it is a certain class of computers. This number is the same on almost all of the computers made during the last five years or so: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r28048626-Scam-Call-qYour-computer-is-infectedq-scam
Four Main Points to Remember about Scams such as this::
- Microsoft or other companies, telephone or computer companies do not call you. There is no company called Windows. Microsoft, Windstream, or other companies will not call to tell you that a virus is infecting your computer.
- There is no software on every windows computer that sends messages back to Microsoft.
- If a company calls you and tells you that your computer is infected with a virus or malicious things, and you have not called this company, hang up.
- Note the number they called from, the name of the company they represent, and the person’s name who called you: and report it to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/
Keep yourself and others safe. Spread the word so that others are informed. Knowledge is power.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards
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