Bogus "Tech Support", Fake Antivirus Warnings, and Other Scams
After having recently had two calls from people who were victimized by these bogus security software scams, I feel the need to try to do SOMETHING about this.
Please folks, no matter what it says on your screen; no matter how scary the message is; no matter how dire the consequences that are threatened:
DO NOT EVER CALL A NUMBER FROM AN ON-SCREEN MESSAGE THAT POPS UP DECLARING YOUR COMPUTER TO BE INFECTED!!!
Absolutely NO vendor of legitimate security software does this. They don't want your phone calls.
Likewise, if you ever get a phone call about your computer, unless you employ someone like me and it's from that company, HANG UP. IT IS A SCAM.
Microsoft does not call people on the phone. Security software vendors don't call people on the phone. This is not a thing that these companies do, literally ever.
Think about this, folks: these technology industry companies don't even answer the phone right away if you call them. Calling people on the phone requires the employment of people to make those calls, and all trends in every industry are going the opposite direction: fewer people and more phone communication handled by software-based phone tree/menu systems.
Phone calls about your devices being infected or needing updates just don't happen with legitimate security software companies.
If you see a scary message on your screen, even if that message tells you that you must call a particular number or the wrath of the almighty will strike down all of your data - do not call them. Call someone like me, to run an offline malware scan on the system to make sure it's safe, and if it's not, to disinfect it.
Don't ever give someone you don't know or a company you don't already have a business relationship with remote access to your systems. They can plant all sorts of surreptitious monitoring applications on the system without you seeing anything happening once you let them in - even if you’re watching the screen while they’re on the system.
These predatory bogus “tech support” scam artists are like vampires: just don't invite them in and you limit the harm they can do.
Protect yourselves, people. If you don't know what something on your computer screen really means:
- Don’t click on anything
- Don’t agree to anything
- And don’t ever, ever let anyone remotely access your system without vetting them, no matter what they say will happen if you don’t
If you're worried about what a screen message means, call a company like mine. If you don't want to employ me, I know several other techs I can recommend who I know are trustworthy.
This has been a public service announcement from one very angry IT professional, furious that people like these scammers are giving people like me a bad reputation.