** Since the writing of this I have had many more people I know personally report of getting contacted with this scam, some people more then once. Its still active and may be for a while (Dec 16 2011)**
I know two people now that have had this happen to them, so I decided its time to get the word out there even more.
It Starts With a Phone Call.
Someone will call (sometimes from a weird number like 4599873) , they will say something like “We have detected a virus on your windows computer. We offer this as a free service OR we are part of Microsoft support and our business number is: (quote a number that doesn’t mean anything.) We can fix this for you for a small fee of X amount, we will login to your computer first and show you the virus, you can then pay us to remove it. (One person was told is was a free service that was offered.) This will usually sound like an Indian call center if you happen to hear the background noise or recognize the accent.
They get you to allow them to remote into your computer.
They will walk you through them getting access to your computer through a program called logmein (its a legit program, but they use it for illegal activities.) Or FixOnClick, which isn’t legit.
After they get access you may see them “searching for viruses” which they will makeup all sorts of stuff telling you your PC has problems and is infected. (At this time they can search your PC for personal information and/or they can install programs that will allow them to gather passwords, credit card info, etc.) Also they will make it look like you have a virus and get you to pay them with a credit card. Or they say its free and your computer is clean, but really they planted a **virus.
** I use the term virus as its well known, but its not always a virus, Trojans are very popular way for people to steal information from your computer, and malware is becoming a coined term for all sorts of bad things like viruses. trojans, worms, etc.
Don’t fall prey to “Social Engineering” AKA a phone scam
If you EVER receive a call or email about ANYTHING like this IE: You won such and such, just need your credit card/sin #, etc, etc. DO NOT EVER GIVE IT OUT! If its legit you will
1) Be able to get a number and call them back.
2) No one will call you about something like this unless you know each other.
3) If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
4) Don’t pay for free things “Its free, we just need you to pay shipping/taxes/whatever, give us your credit card number.”
JUST SAY NO.
I was browsing some other peoples responses to this, and this guy had the best idea EVER, especially for repeat callers
There is a low-tech solution that worked for me. Your caller ID will show up a non-existent number such as 0091777. They kept calling me even when I hung up the first few times. A friend told me what to do. Get a referee’s whistle and keep it beside the phone. When they call, part-cover the mouthpiece with your hand and keep saying to them that the line is bad and that you have difficulty hearing them. They, hopefully will think it is and strain to hear you. Pretend to go along with them and then take the whistle, uncover the phone AND BLOW WITH FULL FORCE This will send an ear-piercing screech down the line and give some a few days’ pain!! This solution worked for me. Best of luck!!
If you think you have a virus, or if you fell pray to this scam, the first thing you should do is install, update and scan with know, safe, anti-virus/malware.
A combo I find works quite well and is completely free is to use AVG Free (http://free.avg.com/us-en/free-antivirus-download) or Microsoft Security Essentials (http://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/security_essentials/default.aspx) combined with malwarebytes (http://malwarebytes.org/). You can google each one of those to get the legit download sites as well. Malwarebytes works fine with the free version, you just have to run it manually each time. IMHO its the best first tool to run for getting rid of malware ( viruses, Trojans, spyware, adware and rootkits, etc.)
Spread the word!!!