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February 29, 2016

Fake support calls

This scam has been going on for the past couple of years, however many clients are still unaware of it so hopefully this post will prevent more victims.

This started out as a “cold call” scam, which basically means they are randomly dialing numbers and without knowing anything about you they try to scam you into thinking there is a problem with your computer and that they are from “Windows”, “Microsoft” or your internet provider. All of which are a lie to get you to download a free remote desktop program so they can access your computer. The free programs they will typically use are LogMeIn.com, TeamViewer.com, or Ammyy.com. All of these sites themselves are safe and legitimate however the scammer is using the for malicious/financial gain purposes.

Now the new era of this scam has been emerging and seems to be spreading like wildfire and convincing people it’s real from their new tactics. Some will lock you from doing anything else on your computer, but they all have one thing in common, they want you to call a “support” phone number. Some will convince you it’s legit by displaying your internet provider name or some will have voices announcing there is a problem with your computer. All of these are fake, do not call the support numbers because it’s only a scam to get money from you, and in some cases they perform more malicious tasks. IF you find yourself “locked up” with nothing but their screens/errors/messages popping up hold down the ALT key, and begin pressing F4 until all the boxes/messages are gone. If this doesn’t free up your browser Hold CTRL+ALT+ESC, and double click your browser to end the task. If you’re still seeing their messages hold the power button on your computer for 10 seconds, then turn it back on.

How do people fall into these traps?
Easy, very easy. By nature we’re so used to searching for the information we want these days that many do not actually pay attention to the site they’re actually being directed to. I have seen some search for “Youtube” or “Facebook sign in” and they click on the first results that popup, but on some search engines those results can be flawed due to the techniques these scammers are using. Pay close attention to these links before you click on them. A lot of these scam sites simply just try to get you to call them with annoyances and/or scare tactics with no harm to your computer, by closing your browser windows (ALT+F4) all traces should be gone however there have been a handful of these sites that will infect your computer though. IF the messages are constantly popping up no matter what then this means they have infected your computer, calling them up to “fix” your computer will not help. We recommend you to bring it to us in that situation so that we can remove the infections.

Keep in mind they do not work for Microsoft, Windows, Your internet provider, etc. They will try in everyway to convince you that they do.
A easy way to know they’re a scam is they will usually ask you to hold down the windows key and press ‘R’, then ask you to type in “eventvwr” so he can show you all the viruses/errors. These log files display no such information. This is simply a scare tactic they are trying to use to get you to trust them.
No matter what, do NOT download anything they tell you to or go to any website they tell you to visit. Just hang up on them. If you’re concerned there may be a problem with your computer bring it to us for a free diagnostics.

TIPS:
Hold ALT and press F4 until windows are gone if they have you locked from closing them.
If ALT + F4 won’t work, press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC then select your browser in the list and click end task
NEVER allow someone you don’t know/trust have access to your computer
instead of searching for the site you already know you want type it in the address bar. For example in the address bar type “facebook.com” instead of searching “facebook login” this especially goes if it is your banking/credit card website for obvious reasons.
Most browsers will be highlighted in green at the beginning of the address if the webpage is verified.
Personally I use Firefox or Google Chrome They’re faster and often have less security flaws that Internet Explorer suffers from.

Lastly be careful of any tool bars or extensions you install on your browser, some of these can be the root cause of you being misdirected to malicious/scam sites.