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The Tech Support Phone Call Scam

Criminals trying to separate you from your personal details are using ever more sophisticated methods of doing so. One that is currently very effective is the Tech Support Phone Call Scam. I can vouch for the fact that this one is effective because a family member fell for it. It cost him over ¬£100 to sort out the damage done to his laptop by the fraudsters. Fortunately, he didn’t lose any money. You may not be so lucky unless you know how to stay safe.

How it works:

You get a call from someone claiming to be from a computer support company. Sometimes they’ll even claim to be Microsoft themselves. They’ll tell you that they’ve detected a serious virus on your computer and advise you that you need to act immediately to save your PC and your data. The scam typically results in the caller getting you to download and install software from the Internet onto your machine.

Sometimes, they’ll get you to buy the product needed to sort the problem (“What’s that? You want me to enter my credit card details into your website? No problem! What could possibly go wrong?”) but often they’ll recommend free products. The end result is always the same – you compromise the integrity of your personal data. Whether you enter your card details yourself, or whether they use a bit of software to frisk your machine and look for personal data on your hard drive, they’re looking to rip you off.

These people are very convincing. They’ll put the fear into you and use technical jargon and they’ll appear very friendly and helpful. They’ll be happy for you to ring off and phone them back on the number they’ve provided (probably a premium rate number). They’ll bend over backwards because by doing so, they’re getting closer to your data.

How to protect yourself

It’s horrible to have to say this, but be more suspicious!

If someone phones up claiming to be from tech support and that you’ve got a problem, don’t give them your name or other personal details.¬†Never give out passwords over the phone.

Get their contact details and say you’ll call ’em back. If you recognise the company, then Google the them and only use contact details from official websites to contact their help services. If you don’t recognise the company, don’t call ’em.

Don’t give strangers remote access to control your PC.

IT companies do not routinely phone people up even if there is a problem with their PC. The way to protect your PC from viruses is to run up to date anti-virus programs.

Posted in Data Protection Act, Information Security.

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