This morning I was reminded of a scam that has been around for some time but is still quite successful. The scam goes like this:
- An unsolicited call comes in from someone stating they are from Microsoft or some other tech company.
- They state that your computer has been compromised by malware and it is now in a state of vulnerability.
- They offer to assist you in eradicating the threat either by instructing you to download some software or instructing you to a (perhaps legitimate) website to allow them remote access to your computer.
- They may or may not request credit card or other payment information for this service.
This is a scam, and the best thing to do is to not offer any information and simply disconnect the call. The scammers may seem to know things about you and your computer. They are either using available information or guessing. Regardless, it is a ruse to trick you into granting them access to your computer. Microsoft does not make unsolicited tech support calls.
If you have anti-virus software on your computer, run a scan to see if there is anything to the alert. If you do not have anti-virus software, there are many places on the internet that you can download antivirus software. Symantec & McAfee are the big players, and both have online scans and offer the ability to download and license from their websites. AVG.com, bitdefender.com, and usa.kaspersky.com all offer free AV software and/or online scans. I’ve used AVG many times and have always been happy with the results.
No matter which AV solution you choose, keeping it up to date is important because the threats are constantly evolving.
As is the case in most cyber scams the best defense is your good judgment and being prepared before the fact. Don’t let someone short circuit your thought process so that you act before thinking. Unfortunately, hindsight counts for very little in these situations.
Joe Davis, IT Manager
First Liberty Bank