Telephone scams are now a serious problem in the UK. There are many different types of telephone scams, but increasingly homeowners are receiving calls about non-existent computer problems. We at IGS Computers deal with the aftermath of scam calls on a daily basis and offer a range of services to repair your computers.
How to recognise a scam call
Scam calls always follow a certain pattern, and appear to be scripted. Normally the caller does not deviate from the script.
The first thing you should do if you suspect the call to be a scam telephone call is to the check the telephone number. If the number is withheld or appears to come from a foreign country, you should ask the caller where they are calling from. Most calls of this kind originate in India or Pakistan, and you may be able to detect an accent.
The person on the phone normally introduces him or herself as a Microsoft employee, and goes on to explain that they have received an error report from your computer. This is simply not true, Microsoft do not make these types of calls.
In the next step the caller offers to check your system for problems for free using remote access. This may sound like a good idea, but it certainly is not.
Problems are always found, and a payment is always requested to fix the problems. Payments methods offered are normally credit card, or alternatively a debit card with the Visa or Mastercard symbol. If the recipient of the call refuses to give out payment details, and has already given remote control access to the computer, he runs the risk of having a virus loaded onto his computer or worse. It is not unheard of that these companies lock the computer, add passwords and delete drivers. In effect, your computer is being held to ransom unless you pay up.
How to deal with situation and prevent potential damage to your computer
First of all you should always ask for the caller’s name, and try to establish where they are calling from. If you can try to find out the address of the head office of the organisation, and ask lots of questions about the problem they claim you are experiencing. Be very suspicious, and do not believe anything which is being said to you during the conversation. For instance, it is a good idea to ask the caller if they know:
- What type of computer you have (laptop or desktop)
- What operating system you are running
- What configuration your computer is (processor, memory, hard drive)
- How you connect to the internet (WiFi or LAN cable?)
- What is your username on the computer
- How old the computer is
- When did you use it last
- Where you’ve purchased it from
Ask for their telephone number, and say that you will call them back after you have checked that you have enough credit on your card. Of course, you should never call them back. Instead you should contact the police with as many details as possible.
What to do if a remote connection was established
If a remote connection was established, the first thing you should do is to shut down the computer, and do not restart it again. There is a possibility that a so called “backdoor” to your computer has been established. A backdoor gives the company access to files, and virus programs can also be installed.
Call someone you trust, like Hull Computer Repairs – IGS Computers. We will scan your computer for viruses, and endeavour to recover any files which may have been deleted.
If you made a payment over the phone, you should contact your credit card company, or bank, and explain what has happened. This is fraud, so it is important that you change your bank passwords and request new cards. Do call the police, these companies often target areas and it is important to make the police aware they are operating in your area.
Remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry. Call IGS Computers – Hull TOP Computer Repairs Company so we can check your computer, and help you to keep your system secure.