Phone Scam Alert

Phone ScamPhone scams are sadly becoming common place. Just a few minutes ago I received a phone call on my business line. I didn’t recognize the number – the area code was 661. I let it go, and figured if it was important a message would be left. I Googled the number – now come’on a lot of us do that. And it came up as a Skype number with some comment about it being a Scam.

On a regular basis I receive several of these types of scam calls. The prevailing commonality among all the calls is that the caller has always a heavy accent – from India, Pakistan, or somewhere in that region. They usually are reading from a script, and when asked a question the caller gets a little befuddled, and sometimes noticeably angry.

I have had my far share of the caller that identifies themselves as a Microsoft Technician and relates that my computer has been infected with a virus. The chances of Microsoft calling anyone about something like this is slim to none. I’ve played along with the caller – either playing stupid on how to operate the computer, or allowing them to think that I was doing what they asked……importantly NEVER EVER allowing them access to my computer. Their goal is to get you to remotely allow access to your computer and then . . . your computer will be essentially held hostage until you either pay them or take it to get it fixed. The caller will sound convincing, they will tell you that your computer has been infected with a virus, and that he wanted to show you through looking at the event viewer on your computer. My advice is . . . if you want to play along go ahead – just play without your computer. I’ve taken this call while in my car, at Costco, and other places – all no where near my computer. That fact is really by accident, though it helps for those who may be tempted to start clicking keys and sharing information.

One of the many calls that I received I kept the caller on the phone for about 10 minutes – and then said “you know I own an Apple.” The caller hung up. There is nothing Microsoft about an Apple Computer. It is like an Apple and an Orange.

The list of phone scams are growing and seemingly endless:

Microsoft Scam: http://blogs.microsoft.com/cybertrust/2014/09/18/how-to-report-the-microsoft-phone-scam/

IRS Scam: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Repeats-Warning-about-Phone-Scams

FTC Information: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams

The bottom line is that YOU are in control of the phone call. Don’t be a victim of a phone scam. You can politely or not so politely just hang up. NEVER EVER allow anyone who you didn’t call or you don’t recognize to have access to your personal data, or your computer.

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