Security Alert!
Help Desk - Protect Your PC

Telephone Support Scam This old scam has resurfaced this year with many of our customers receiving a telephone call from "Microsoft"  If you receive a telephone call from someone saying they are from Microsoft, AVG, Norton, McAfee or other security company and that your computer is either at risk or infected, DO NOT follow their instructions - THIS IS A SCAM!  For more information relating to telephone support scams please read on

Avoid tech support phone scams

Unfortunately, today's Cybercriminals don't just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft AVG, Symantec, McAfee or some other security/anti-virus company. They might tell you that your computer is either at risk or infected and offer to help solve your problems if you just follow their instructions however once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:

  1. Trick you into installing malicious software that could steal sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords.
  2. They might also then charge you to remove this software and request credit card information so they can bill you for these phony services.
  3. Take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer open for infection.
  4. Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.

Neither Microsoft nor any anti-virus or computer security company will ever make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.


What you need to know

  • Cybercriminals often get your information from telephone directories so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you're using.
  • Once they've gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.
  • Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.


How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams

  • Do not purchase any software or computer services sold to you via a cold call.
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the "service." If there is, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you know that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to a cold caller claiming to be from Microsoft, AVG, McAfee, Panda, etc.


What to do if you have already given information to a cold caller:

If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a tech support scam website or telephone call or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:

Change your computer's password, change the password on your email account(s), and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit cards. 

If you have given credit card information to a cold caller, contact your card provider immediately and explain the situation they will advise you how to proceed.

Run full system scans with your anti-virus and malware removal programs.  For our recommendation of free programs please see our article Free Programs to Suit Your Needs.


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