Lately our office has received several phone calls from customers regarding pop-ups or warnings on their computers urging them to call a phone number due to a possible infection. These messages are crafted to appear as coming from legitimate organizations such as Microsoft. The truth however, is that these pop-ups are fake and simply attempting to coax a user in to calling a phone number in hopes of either monetary gain or infection. Typically these messages appear as a pop-up or advertisement on a computer that has no malware and will reference the name of the Internet Service Provider being used or other details that are easily found online. Additionally, we recommend never calling a phone number for help without verifying who you are calling.
Once the phone number is called a user is connected to a “support technician” who will ask to remotely connect to the user’s computer. This is done via a download and once completed the remote party is able to view and control the computer. After connecting the support technician will often times show several errors or infections, emphasizing the need to clean the computer. At this point a payment is usually demanded by the support technician to proceed, with fees having been reported as high as $500 in one instance. It is important to note that the technical support agent is fake and is simply attempting to scam a user in to paying, with no guarantee of removing any real infection. There is also the risk of further infection from the software used to initiate the remote session as it may contain malicious software as well. At this point a true system cleanup is required, costing the user even more.
You may ask yourself how do I protect myself from phishing scams such as this? The answer is good browsing habits, not opening emails/attachments from unknown senders, updating your computer and software, and an active anti-virus solution. At OACYS Technology we have a team of experienced technicians that can not only help identify phishing scams, but also help provide recommendations and software to keep your system from infection. Feel free to give our office a call at 559-781-4123 if you would like further information or need help in getting protected.