Lately, we’ve had several clients who received suspicious phone calls and were worried that
their computer and/or phone got hacked.
The scam goes something like this: The caller says “we have noticed some problems with your system!” Or security, antivirus, network provider…. They might say they are from Microsoft or an associate, often request remote access to show you what is wrong, and offer help for a “small fee.” A variation on this scheme is “your computer was recently serviced by ____ [insert big retail name] store and we owe you a refund” before they ask you to verify your credit card details. In another version, the caller asks you to log into your computer, give them access, and requests payment to fix some vague new problem, but then says they will charge only the difference. Social Security, many banks, and major credit cards have also posted recent warnings about phone scams. All of these “imposter” callers are angling for sensitive personal information, and most demand money in some form. And while keeping you on the phone, the scammer has time to rummage through your files and leave a remote login access tool behind.
What to do?
1) If you don’t know the number (especially if it’s from another state), hang up! Ditto, if
something about the call seems robotic, reading from a script, has a foreign accent, talks
too fast to allow questions, or feels off in some way. Don’t forget to block that number so
it can’t reach you again.
2) If an imposter convinced you to turn on your computer and give them access, take your
computer to a trusted in-person computer technician for a thorough cleanup.
3) If you gave them any passwords, change them right away.
4) If you think they got any financial information from you, or you made a payment, make
sure to tell your bank and/or credit card company, so they can secure your accounts.