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Two ladies we know recently received scam phone calls from a rude
foreigner that began like this. Victims of this very common fraud are
typically bilked out of $150 or more for the phony service of removing
said virus, which of course they never had in the first place. Further,
the scammers leave behind software that can hijack the computer and
lead to identity theft. If a person who receives such a call looks at
her Caller ID, it will seem as though the call is being made from
within the US. The call was instead made from some other country where
laws are more lax than they are here. They have ways of rerouting the
call so victims won't be tipped off.
Sometimes the caller will claim to represent Microsoft itself, but
Microsoft will never give your phone number to another company or ever
make unsolicited phone calls. The scammers don't really “have” peoples'
phone numbers anyway. If your number is 838-0342, then it's likely they
just tried the scam with 838-0341 and will probably try it with
What to do about it
As soon as you start talking to such a caller, he will try to draw you
in, so it may be best to say that you know it's a scam and then just
hang up. In any case, don't give the caller your credit card number or
any other real information. If you say you don't use Windows, that you
have a Macintosh or that you use Ubuntu Unix, that usually puts a clamp
on it and there won't likely be any callbacks. You can also say that
your neighbor, child or spouse is “an IT professional.” You can also
say that the call is being monitored by the local police.
If you have already
followed any directions from the caller
Once you let the caller control your computer or guide you to any web
site, he's probably already left dangerous programs on your PC. Update
your antivirus and anti-malware programs and do complete scans with
them as soon as possible. Don't feel bad or stupid. These calls are
often successful. We have a tendency to be too polite, as these thieves
are well aware.
October 8, 2013