Sunday, December 20, 2015

Windows Tech Support Scam

If someone calls you from "Windows Tech Support" it is a scam.

One of the scams still going around, targeting the elderly, is the "Windows Tech Support" scam.   They cold-call people an announce they are from "Windows" and have "detected a problem with your computer.

Of course, they are not from "Windows" or Microsoft or anyone else.   And no, Microsoft or "Windows" or anyone else can detect problems with your computer from afar.

But they are hoping you are gullible enough to believe that somehow Microsoft is remotely monitoring your computer's health and calling you to "fix" it.

What are they after?  They want you to go to your computer and follow a set of instructions that actually will load a virus onto your computer - a virus you have to pay to remove later on.  Other times, they just tell you you have a virus, and then ask you to pay to have it removed.

One gag is to get you to open the Windows "event log" and show the numerous "errors" that any Windows PC generates over time.  You are then told that to "fix" these errors, you need to provide a credit card number to pay for software or tech support to clear the errors.  But of course, there is nothing wrong with your computer. They actually may ask you to run a program that allows them to remotely run your computer - which allows them to install any kind of software or malware they want to.

While the FTC has gone after a number of these operators, many operate from overseas and are untouchable.   Moreover, each time they shut one operation down, another springs up.

It is sad, to be sure.  And they target people who are elderly or who are not very sophisticated about computers.   If you have elderly friends or relatives, or just friends who are not very tech-smart and are gullible, be sure to mention this scam to them.   It may save them a lot of hassle.

They call Lenny with regularity.   But being a computer himself, he doesn't fall for their scam!