YOURLifeChoices subscriber Tom has unfortunately fallen victim to a bold new online con whereby brazen scammers are contacting computer users in their homes, and encouraging them into a setting-up a direct banking debit with the promise of computer assistance.
I received a phone call yesterday from a person with an overseas area code (according to my caller ID) saying that he was Microsoft’s agent. For A$283.53 he said he would clear my computer of errors for three years. He gave me two Sydney numbers to ring for service. He operated under the business name ‘Software Support 4pc’. What he didn’t tell me was that this required my transferring to him the facility of remotely controlling my computer. I had two services before I saw the debit on my credit card which alarmed me because the debit was in India!
I am fearful that I am at the mercy of someone whose integrity is unproven but highly suspect. There also doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with my computer, and they have not fixed anything.
As I have said I don’t seem to be able to contact Microsoft to vouch for this agent. Can you help please?
Unfortunately this is one example of the many potential scams which exist; you have to be very careful when giving out information on the internet. Having read the information you have given us and with prior knowledge of the litany of similar calls a number of our subscribers have been getting, it is possible you may have been scammed.
This company does have a reputation (especially online) as scammers, and has been using this method of tricking people for quite some time as it is rather effective. Most people would have little or no clue as to what most of the technical jargon in relation to their computer and anti-virus protection means, when a ‘technical agent’ calls them and outlines that their computer is infected. After spouting some technical jargon and accessing your computer remotely thanks to some information you give them over the phone, they trick the confused and concerned party into a contract, whereby they agree to hand over a sum of money to ‘fix’ your computer for three years (this is the 21st century version of when a dodgy mechanic used to add on $200 for a ‘side motor accelerator alternator’).
The company of course do not fix your computer, instead moving on to the next target as soon as the money is through. If you ever receive a call similar to this, ask them to provide details of your bill account number and ISP number. If they provide what seems like the correct information, chances are they have made this up as no service can LEGALLY access your computer, without your prior consent. Therefore, if you haven’t given this, then they should not be able to provide such details. If you have any doubt whatsoever, ask the person to repeat the company name, ABN number and their name and end the call. A quick Google search will verify the integrity of the company.
As ever, continue to update your anti-virus software and know that Microsoft do not engage in calls out to computer users, rather very clever scammers are cashing in on the hysteria over viruses. Similar calls from someone claiming to be from your ISP are also unlikely to be legitimate.
Also, if you feel you may have been the target of one of these scam phone calls, change your passwords (especially those holding important information) and contact your card provider to put a block on any further charges.
And if you would like to be pro-active and stop these scammers before they even begin, don’t forget to put yourself on the do not call register.