Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scam Alert

Be warned!!

There IS a scam going around of people claiming to be from Microsoft Corporation. That your computer is heavily infected and they want to assist you in removing this infection that is hindering or corrupting your computer.

There I was, just in from work and I get a unknown phone call showing a unknown number.

(Red Flag One)

The person introduced themselves as a service tech from Microsoft Corporation. That my computer was reported as one on their list as being heavily infected. 

(How would they know this?  Red Flag two) 

The gentleman, obviously from India with his accent proceeded to walk me through the steps of opening up my computer management window

Steps as Follows:
1)Click Start
2) Hover over my computer option and right click
3)Select “Manage”
The computer management window opens

 (Oh wow, neat. I had wondered where that was)

The gentleman proceeded to have me to look at the left side for the option of “Event Viewer”  once found to click and open that.  He then instructed me to look for an option of “Application”, once found to click it and open it. 

(This guy knows his stuff, ok I’ll play along)

He then had me to scroll down the middle window and look for errors and warnings.  This guy said “If you have more then 5 to 10 of these errors or warnings, that your computer has been compromised.” 

(I at this point was thinking, “Oh sh*t he’s right I got a bug in my system”)

This technician further proceeded to have me to look back to the left side under “Window Logs”  and look for “System”.  That I had to click and open that as well. The middle window populates and the tech again warns me not to click anything here, that I could inadvertently cause damage but to again look for errors and alerts. Again anything over 5 to 10 of these and it is confirmed that my system was compromised. As I scrolled down and looked at all these errors and alerts, I got pissed at myself because I had somehow allowed my computer to be infected.

This computer tech now tells me to minimize the computer management window and open my web browser. He was going to assist me in removing this infection.

(I at this point was like, “Cool, I gets help to rid myself and my computer of these problems”)

I opened my web based browser, Google Chrome and the tech tells me to type, “www.teamviewer.com” in the address bar. I being a na├»ve fool did so and went to the Teamviewer website.  As soon as I seen what this was I stopped. Teamviewer is one those pieces of software that you use to give complete access of your computer to somebody else. 

(Jazzy sense tingling and a HUGE red flag waving in my face)

I immediately opened another tab and googled “people calling from Microsoft claiming to be helping with errors” Now what you think I found there?

“Hoax Microsoft Windows security calls..”
“Beware cold calls from people claiming to be from Microsoft”
Scam Alert..”
I chose the 4rth option on the list “I received a phone call from Microsoft claiming I have a virus”

This window opens:

 http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_vista-security/i-received-a-phone-call-from-someone-claiming-i/4489f388-d6de-416d-9158-0079764bb001

Oh wow somebody else had the exact type of call and was cautious.  Scrolling down the list of answers I seen one statement that stood out that rang true.

“If you have not opened an incident (ticket for Support) with Microsoft, they do not contact you.”

Good ole Jazzy sense saves my bacon yet again.  I then asked the “tech” why after years of faithful service and all the tickets I’ve filed, that they decided to call and attempt to help now. Why I had to download Teamviewer, and why would I want to give complete  access of my computer to a complete stranger.

He sputtered, mumbled and tried to say again that he had my best interests in mind.  Sure he did.. bastard just wanted access to my computer, these same people have been reported to get access, make unwanted changes and to also leave a virus on your computer that gathers your personal information, your banking information and your browsing history and then send it to wherever in the world so they can steal your life, your funds and your livelihood. 

I was pissed at this point at both this “tech” for leading me on. At myself because I almost bought into his scam. Immediately I hung up and deleted the install file for the Teamviewer software that I had downloaded.  Used the suggestions given at answers.microsoft.com and did a complete scan on my computer

“Run the Microsoft Malicious Removal Tool

Start - type in Search box -> MRT  find at top of list - Right Click on it - RUN AS ADMIN.”

While that scan was running I read down further that I should report this scam to the proper authorities.

Needless to say now the Federal Trade Commission knows that these scammers have targeted my area.

Can go here for more information:
  http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/telemarketing/tel19.shtm
 
Also while I had the lady on the horn, I had my number put on the National No Call Registry
https://www.donotcall.gov/

For an extra kick in the pants, tomorrow I’ll be making a call to my states Attorney General’s office to report this scam. Per the instructions of the lady that I spoke with of the FTC.

Listen folks, these people are good! They make themselves sound like the real deals but know that Microsoft WILL never call your home or place of business. Microsoft will never ask for access to your personal computer or business computer.

Watch for the red flags, unknown numbers, instructions for you to download any type of software that gives them complete access to your computer.  Once you see these, stop the call.. Stop the scam and report it right then.  Report it to your local law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission.  Just let people know, all your friends and family; let them know to be on the watch for these scammers that would fleece them without thinking.  That scan I did of my system..no malicious software was detected.

Parting words:
Never, never, never, NEVER give a complete stranger access to your computer. Not through software or just sitting in front of it. You don’t know what they might do or leave you.

Jasmine Dawn Shuftan

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