Saturday, April 16, 2011

Phone virus scam alert!

So this morning I get a call just as I am waking up. A polite gentleman with a heavy Indian accent (dot, not feather) informs me that he is from Microsoft and my computer has a virus. Groggy, I'm not sure what to do but stall for time. I tell him I'm not near my computer, please call later. So I start some digging. Google is a wonderful search tool! First, I do not allow remote access to incoming calls nor do I give out information to unsolicited callers. I'm pretty sure this is a scam.
Sure enough, the second call gave me enough information to dig up some dirt. 360 PC Support (the company that called) is not Microsoft, and is not a MS partner like they said they were. They are a call centre in Mumbai with a 404 area code call back number (Atlanta, Georgia.) They originally said they were Microsoft. I called them on it and they said they were actually representatives (partners) of MS and that I have a virus on my computer. They have called me three times this morning. The second time I told them to not call me again. They are insisting that I allow them to remote access my computer or my computer will crash. Obviously, I do not allow this.
This type of scam is hard to control, according to several websites I used to research. The Guardian   wrote a good article describing the scam. They are also calling in Australia, and America as well now. Apparently, they are using phone lists to call, since I do not share my phone number with MS. Interestingly, he never called me by name that I recall, which is another telltale, since a legitimate organization will call you by name. However, some scammers will have your name, so just because they know who you are does not mean they are legit! Be careful and happy computing!