Virus Phone Scam – What it means to you

Have you gotten a phone call from someone claiming your computer has a virus or is sending our spam messages?

It sounds legitimate.  They have your name, they know you have a computer and they really sound like they know what they are talking about.

Here’s the best advice you will be given.  This is a phone scam. Hang up your phone immediately.

Do not ask questions.  Do not give any personal information.  Do not give them access to your computer.  Do not install any software they say is “free” to check your computer system.

Companies such as Dell, Microsoft, HP and IBM never make it a point to pick up the phone and call you out of the blue.  They will never call you and tell you there are problems with your computer system.

That’s just not how it works!

Sure, they will help you fix your computer.  However, YOU are the person that must call them.  They will never just call you.

Here’s what the virus phone scam sounds like.

You will receive a phone call from someone indicating they are from some large computer company (usually Microsoft, HP or Dell).  They may even say they are from your internet provider.  The scam artist will tell you your computer is infected with a virus or is sending spam messages.

It will sound 100% legit because they ask for you by name and will know where you live.

They want you to visit a website so they can get started on cleaning up your computer system.  They will give a special code and tell you they can take remote control of your computer system so they can correct the problems with your cmoputer.

Don’t do it!

If you follow their instructions, you give them complete control over your computer system, including all your files.  They can also install other programs to capture sensitive information about your banking and passwords.

Yes, it is that scary!

In some cases, they direct you to a site to download and install a program to fix the problems.  They use terms such as “anti-virus” or “anti-spyware” or “anti-maleware” and may throw a few other technical terms out there just to add to the legitimacy of what they are saying.

After they get you to scan your system, they will find things that require you to provide a credit card number.  According to the scam artist, this is to activate the software subscription and allow them to clean your system.

This software will not fix your computer.

It will introduce more problems and chances are it will give the scammers full access to everything on your computer.  It is often this software itself that is infected with viruses or malware.

Just think about what the phone scam artist wants – your credit card number.  If you give you give it to them you have just set yourself up for major trouble.

Please use some common sense.

NEVER give your credit card number out to people who call you up out of the blue.

Okay, so you’re asking where did the scam artist get your contact information and how did they know you had a computer?

Unless you have an unlisted phone number, anyone can find you using sites like Canada411 or directly from a phone book.  It’s a pretty good chance you will have a computer in your home.  It’s almost a guarantee you have Microsoft Windows as the operating system.

These phone scam artists prey on the fact most people have little to no knowledge of the technical workings of a computer system.  People hear these people saying they are spreading viruses or spamming the internet and freak out.  They become desperate and will often do anything to have this stop!

Thus when they call, you want their help because you feel vulnerable and don’t want your personal information spread over the internet!

Here’s the advice again.

If you get a call from someone claiming your computer is sending viruses or spam on the internet, or that they have detected problems with your computer system, HANG UP because it is a SCAM!

What can you do to avoid getting infected by viruses or malware?

There are several available for free such as AVG Free and Avast Free Edition.

If your computer appears to be running slow or you are getting lots of pop-ups, you may have malware or spyware on your system.  There are free programs that you can use to scan your system for these things as well.  MalwareBytes and SuperAntiSpyware are great products.

If you’re not comfortable doing things yourself, invest in some professional advice.  Get a computer technician to check your system or drop me a line using my contact form above, follow me on Twitter or drop me a note on Facebook.

When it comes to this Virus Phone Scam, please use some commonsense.  Hang up and call someone who understands computers.  Have them check it out!

Have you received such a phone call?  Drop a comment in the box below and tell me your story and about your experience with this virus phone call scam!

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About Barry Wheeler

Barry Wheeler is a blogger, novice SEO, geek and passionate Newfoundlander. Operating several successful websites and online communities, Barry has started exploring the social internet and its impact on all facets of society including personal life and business relationships. Find Barry on Twitter @barrywheeler and FaceBook or on his website Barry Wheeler - Blogging for Success.
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13 Responses to Virus Phone Scam – What it means to you

  1. rita says:

    they almost had me. called and said the stuff u said that i was infected and i said how do i know this is for real he said there is a special number on ur computer that only he could see due to beinging with windows told me to go to run punch in some stuff and he read out the number. so i though it was real (stupid me) then he told me to go to a websight that had something like 123logmein or something like that. (i was writting everything down) i saw it say u are giving this person access to ur computer so before i hit ok i asked him if it was true (could he use me computer ) he said NO. so i hit ok. in the mean time i had posted a post on fb asking if it was real someone wrote back saying no, so as i was waitting for an answer on fb i was not moving my mouse i was just sitting there and JOE asked me if i was still there i said yes. Then all of a sudden my mouse started to move…i quickley ungranted him access, shut down my computer and unpluged my internet, i think my computer is fine (he got a few choise words i will not share here)….so in the long run i think i just might start watching the new lol.

    • Rita, you and many others have received this call. The “authorities” keep assuring us they are tracking this scam, but it continues.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience.

  2. Don says:

    Still going on was with the mother in law in northwest NewBrunswick when she got the call today

    • Don,

      It’s going on everywhere! I am getting at least 3 calls a week to my own house and everyone around me is the same.

      We just have to keep telling everyone about it!

      Barry

  3. Bill Burgess says:

    My calls are similar to the above and would further add that they are frequent and persistent.
    They follow script and are not always understandable and will disengage if you say you are a 20 year IT pro or words of similar import.
    -the last calling # was 1 253 802 0308 and would not add on to my blocked call list as it was not “real”?
    -i know a great number of users who get this call are probably scammed and that is sad.

  4. Linda says:

    I had such a call last night. The # was 981-234-5673. I asked if they were from Telus. Person told me to turn on the computer immediately to get mal-ware out. I hung up. L.

    • Linda,

      Unfortunately these calls are coming with more and more frequency! No one will ever call you from any company and tell you there’s something wrong with your computer.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      Barry

  5. zqwerty says:

    I’m seriously thinking about setting up a virtual machine set on DMZ in the firewall.. and say “yes, here you go, thank you very much” – but first fill the desktop and wallpaper with a bevy of twisted gore pics. I think that will be a nice little gift for these 2 bit script kiddies. I don’t think there are any laws against doing this… but I’d wanna know first to be sure. They themselves are probably looking to break the law anyway.. but then again, if you agree to give them access, then technically they’re not “unauthorized”… Also for shits & giggles, I could set up a service to capture all the network traffic, just to see what they’re up to and where they’re coming from.

  6. Jon says:

    One just called me, from 411 directory assistance. That was the first flag that went up. Why would Microsoft be calling me from 411? An Indian voice on the phone asked for me by name, said my Window’s computer was downloading malicious software and he would have a technician help me check for it.

    1. Microsoft does not care enough about me to call me, even if they did somehow know my computer was infected.
    2. He immediately assumed I had no computer knowledge and needed a technician to take control of my computer. I asked him what the file was that I was downloading and he simply kept saying the technician would have to show me.
    3. I never got to three because I hung up on him.

    I wish there was a way to report him to someone in authority and let Microsoft know about it as well.

    Good scam, preying on people’s fear of identity theft, when that is the intention of the scam. Clever.

    AVG just finished running, 0 threats, got Malwarebyte running now, but don’t expect to find anything.

    Jonathan

  7. Vic says:

    These telephone calls can be frustrating but don’t let them get to you. Instead, make it a game. Keep them on the phone as long as possible. Ask them things like: What’s the weather like?, Where are you?, Do you have kids? Are you married? What did you have for breakfast? Are you naked? or anything else you can think of. Don’t tell them anything and give them nothing! Answer none of their questions but instead keep firing off unrelated questions to them. If they insist you go to you your “Windows” computer, tell them you don’t run that inferior operating system and prefer to run Linux Server. That should stop them dead 🙂

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