Monday, March 23, 2015
Make Sure Your Mom and Dad Know What to Do When They Get the Call.
An older friend recently showed up for his annual visit. As we had dinner on Friday evening he mentioned that he'd had a computer problem.
He didn't know he had a problem until he received a call from someone with a heavy, Indian accent who purported to be from Microsoft security. The caller said Microsoft had detected a dangerous virus in my friend's computer. All he needed to do was let them remotely access his computer and all would be well - or at least it would be well after he agreed to a $350 charge on his VISA card.
The next morning I trotted my friend into the local branch of his bank where they wasted no time in doing all the appropriate fixes. Bank of Montreal security was alerted, new credit card and bank cards issued, a few other tweaks and my friend was good to go.
He called this morning with the next installment of this saga. A couple of weeks after his bank stopped the payment he received another call from another guy with an Indian accent who angrily demanded an explanation of why the credit card charge had been rejected. My friend was told he'd get his comeuppance and that's when his computer froze or, more accurately, was frozen - remotely.
A computer techie with some familiarity of these things was called in. $175-later the problem was resolved and it was definitely sabotage. The techie mentioned he'd encountered the same problem with the computer of a recently retired RCMP officer.
A late buddy's widow received the same call from someone speaking in a heavy Indian accent purporting to represent Microsoft computer security. She was told they had detected a virus on her computer. This is where things get weird.
The widow informed the caller that she couldn't have a computer virus because - she didn't have a computer. The fellow on the other end of the line began arguing with her, basically calling her out as a liar. He wanted her credit card number and apparently wasn't going away without it. She finally just hung up on the guy.
That wasn't the end of her problems. Over the next two weeks she received more calls, all with the same accent, all wanting her credit card information and warning of unspecified problems that could arise if she refused. It's no wonder she looked relieved when she left for 3-weeks in Hawaii.
These guys are upping their game. They're becoming more persistent, even threatening, not to mention that they'll sabotage the computers of the unwary.
Talk to your folks. Tell them that Microsoft doesn't call customers. Tell them these callers are going to scam them. Don't allow strangers access to their computers and don't give out any credit card information.