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?
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!