The ever-increasing use of the internet worldwide means new opportunity not just for people in general, but for con artists and fraudsters as well. One all-too-common scam involves fraudsters ostensibly making a victim aware of a computer problem and offering to fix it.
The scam works a little like this: you receive a call from someone claiming that you have an issue with your computer, and since he or she work for a major technological company, he or she can help.i The fraudster may mention that your computer has been infected with a virus, or that there’s an issue with your router or internet connection. Whatever the problem is, it’s likely he or she will offer assistance with it.
Fraudsters may ask for money to fix the problem, or may request remote access to your computer. Once they have access to it, they may steal personal data or even place ransomware or a virus on your device. The virus becomes the basis for asking for more money from you.
Ronald Noble, founder of RKN Global, notes that calls coming out of the blue that make demands on you are automatically suspect. Neither Microsoft nor other legitimate technology companies will ever contact you by telephone or email unsolicited.
Computer software service frauds are so common that Microsoft advises users not to trust anyone who calls claiming to be working for them—they do not contact customers to give out unsolicited advice. However, this advice does not appear to be making very much impact on criminals. There were 2 million computer misuse frauds in 2016 alone.
As much as authorities would like to prosecute those who carry out these fraudulent acts, it appears that cases can be hard to investigate. This is because the crimes may be committed by people located in different countries. However, police in the UK, for example, have been able to suspend the telephone numbers that have been used to make the calls, making the fraudsters’ lives a little more difficult.
Anyone who wishes to keep his or her computer, personal data and money safe should remember that unsolicited/cold calls should not be trusted. The fraudsters may seem to know what they are talking about, but they know how to act and behave in order to gain your trust.
Not all computer software service frauds will take place over the phone. Some fraudsters will send emails about security updates that are supposedly required. Do not respond to emails or click on links, because they may contain malicious software that may be used to capture your data.
Users of Linux, an alternative operating system, have also been known to receive calls from fraudsters claiming that there is something wrong.
If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, please contact the relevant authorities as soon as you can. Your report may help to prevent more people falling victim.
RKN Global’s founder, Ronald K. Noble, draws attention to the fact that the data stored on our computers could be deemed valuable to fraudsters. It is therefore necessary to keep it as safe as you would keep your passport, by refusing to engage with people or entities that offer unsolicited advice or services.