25th March 2017
There has been a huge number of responses to last weeks’ article and as I have suggested – we all need to be made aware of how regularly phone scammers are fleecing Australian computer users. In this article we look at some of the broader scams and how they propagate.
Last week we talked about phone scammers doing random calls to Australian land line numbers to suggest that person had a computer fault. There is also a common scam propagated via the Internet where the victim is sent a browser pop-up window if they have been on an infected site. This pop-up window will display a message along the lines of “This PC is infected with XYZ virus – you need to phone ######## to have it cleaned”.
The above message is often full screen and is often hard to turn off which causes more panic in most users. There are other variants such as messages like “Your Internet activity has been reported to the Federal Police who now have your details – phone ######## to get this problem sorted”. Again this is a hoax but interestingly it created enough worry for one Australian recipient (who suddenly thought he was busted) to have him turn himself in at a local police station for a real crime that he had committed!
If your PC displays and urgent or compelling message that it is running slow, or has viruses or suggests that the police have now got you – then this is a scam to get your credit card details. This normally indicates that you have in fact picked up some malware or spyware which is displaying the current message and trying to scam you.
If you have trouble closing this screen then either press the Windows key to give you the option to close the scam window or alternatively turn your computer off. If this also proves problematic then you have the option of pressing and holding down the power button for 3 seconds to immediately turn off your PC. Then take it to a local professional to have it cleaned.
If you find yourself in the middle of a phone scam by mistake then also think about immediately either pulling the power cable on your Internet router or again pressing and holding down the power button on your PC to immediately turn it off. The longer that an external scammer has access to your PC the more malicious they can be.
On another scam track I received the following text last Tuesday the 14th from a sender that shows up as ‘Killer Zone’ which cannot be replied to. I cannot text them back or call them as the text has no phone number attached to it.
The text from Killer Zone reads – Someone has paid us to kill you. get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised…Email me now: [email protected]
While this provided me with a good laugh it would be enough to scare a small percentage of recipients into emailing the scammer and eventually following through with the scam and paying into an account down the track. I have not bothered to email this scammer back and am happy to report that I am still alive.
There are plenty of other forms of scams and I thought this article would finalise the subject for a while. However, there are a few left to talk about next week so until then future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.