By now, most computer savvy users are aware of the fake tech support calls. It’s the one where someone, with a strong accent, calls and pretends to work for “Windows” or “Microsoft Tech Support” or some other variation, and tries to get you to give them remote access to your computer so they can fix a problem.
The correct way of dealing with these call is to hang up on them. Unfortunately, I know some computer users have fallen victim.
If you let them access your computer, they’ll point out some harmless files, try to scare you into thinking they are dangerous, then try to get you to give banking details to sell you a fix. Instead, they use your bank account or credit card information to steal from you. If you refuse, they usually cause damage to your computer in the process.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the FBI’s cyber crime team, is reporting a new twist on this scheme. Heavily accented callers ask if the computer user if they are happy with their recently purchased software. Unsuspecting buyers may respond that “Product XYZ” is working well or is not working well. At this point, the caller can name the software product, and becoming more endearing to the victim. If dissatisfied, they will offer a refund. Or they will offer to give a refund because the company is supposedly going out of business.
If you become a victim, they’ll ask you to give them remote access to your computer so they can help you complete a form you need to get your refund.
IC3 reports that victims were told the fastest way to get a refund was to use the card they purchased the software with. Most software products have a security code on the box that must be used to activate it. Then the caller helped them open an account with a wire transfer company. Instead of sending a refund, however, the scammer withdrew funds and wired them to India. IC3 doesn’t say what the scammers did to the victims’ computers when they had remote access, but chances are it wasn’t good. The code can be used to open software and make counterfeit copies to be sold on the black market.
Bottom line, don’t let anyone you don’t know remote access to your computer. If you need help and you’re not tech savvy, find a friend or relative who is or pay a professional. Someone who just calls out of the blue is looking to help themselves, not you, and Microsoft doesn’t make house calls.