Byte Me Article 174 – Scams get more sophisticated

Scams Get More Sophisticated

This last week, we have had a renewed spate of customers bringing their PC’s in to us after been scammed into giving remote access to an unknown entity.  I get to talk to all of these customers and the underlying theme here is that the scammers are getting more slick in their fraudulent presentations.  The scammers are randomly calling households – even when they don’t have a PC in the house!  They are most often saying that they are from Microsoft and that they can see that your computer has problems with it.

Where they are getting slicker is that they are now often using someone with a Western sounding voice with good verbal communication skills – and as such they are sounding more convincing.  They are also getting far more assertive and demanding.  In more cases they are bullying people into giving them access to the computer.  Unfortunately there are too many ‘nice’ victims that really don’t like to simply hang up on the caller – so they end up losing their data or their money.

There are also scams that offer ‘unlimited phone support’, for the next 5 years for only $300 – but don’t expect any real help here or a set of steak knives.  We see lots of situations where the customer has wasted their money – and some of them even get caught twice.  If you don’t like to hang up on a caller then tell them that you are taking the PC to a local computer shop to have the ‘problem’ fixed.

2014-05-17 Byte Me Article 174 - Curiosity Kills

We have also seen more customers of late that have paid for extended support warranties at the original point of sale.  These are usually through a 3rd party support provider and promise to cure a range of computer problems.  I have rarely seen the value in these contracts for a personal computer as most rely on the support company gaining remote access to the PC through the Internet to fix a problem.  This doesn’t work if you can’t access the Internet in the first place – which is one of the most common home PC problems we see.

When it comes to remotely administering a full business network with properly setup server’s then remote access is worthwhile for the large amounts of ongoing maintenance and user related changes that need to occur.  In either case you are trusting all of your most valuable information to the technician doing the work.  Do you really want this to be someone on the other side of the world that you have never met and someone that is often well outside of the reach of our legal system?

The wrong use of technology seems to be keeping pace with goods, so running a computer efficiently and securely is not getting any easier and it is certainly not getting any simpler.  However getting a PC setup properly at the point of sale and then professionally maintained goes a long way toward saving your nerves and your money in the long term.

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.

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