Consumer Alert: Computer Virus Telephone Scam
We always think we could never be fooled by these clever scammers, but think again. They would not continue running the scam if it were not successful.
A recent wave of clients have contacted us after a "representative" from Microsoft, AOL or "The World Wide Web" have called them and told them that their computers were infected, and that they might be financially or even criminally liable for infecting others. The caller then instructs the computer user to log on to their computer, go to a special website and grants them access to their system, so they can fix it immediately.
Now, before you laugh and say "really?" apparently they must be pretty convincing, because the clients that have called us about this are not idiots. These guys work on the rouse until they are smooth and credible.
Once they are into your system, they can install software (malware or spyware) that allows them access to your ailing system. Then, once they have run a piece of software that shows all the potential and immediate issues, they claim you must pay $400.00 (or some ridiculous amount) for them to clean it. They have been pretty forceful and often rude at this point. Again, this is their livelihood, and they know how to intimidate you into doing what they tell you to do.
So now, the obvious question; what are they after?
The $400? No, probably not. It is the credit card you use to pay the $400 that is where the big money is. And then, as an added bonus, they also have access to your files, emails and any personal information that might be stored on your computer. There is an International market for all of these things, and it is a billion dollar industry.
How did they get your name and phone number?
It is all public record, and even more likely, they probably hacked it from some unsuspecting and vulnerable website that had their contact forms hacked, providing the scammers all the contact info they need.
The best thing you can do if you have fallen for this scam, is immediately disconnect from the Internet! If you get the call, tell them you do not own a computer, or just hang up, hopefully that should remove you from their list.
How does Colorado Metro Mart protect our sites from being hacked?
We use PHP scripted forms to start with, that hides the basic code from browsers. Of course that is not nearly enough, so we employ many layers of anti-hacking features on the servers we host our sites on. We scan our sites at least once monthly, as well utilize Blacklists and blocking software.
Will we stop every hacker, every time?
No. Honestly no one can ever be 100% secure at all times, not even NSA servers can boast that. But with a little foresight and caution, we should be able to work together to keep you safe. And just in case you didn’t know, Microsoft, AOL, the IRS, or anyone other than your Webmaster will never contact you about your computer or viruses, and NO ONE legitimate would ever contact you demanding money to fix it using Bitcoin, wire transfer or any other immediate type of payment - period, ever!