Posted on: 9th November, 2018
Most of us have had the phone call from “Alan from Microsoft”, or similar, who claims that he has spotted a problem on your computer. These are known as “phishing” calls.
In these days of Remote Computer Support, and Big Brother surveillance, it sounds plausible, doesn’t it. Microsoft may well be tracking your computer to help you to fix it, right?
Then your common sense might kick in and you remember that an IT Geek that you met once warned you off such random calls.
Diane Abbott gets her first ever mention on “Read All About IT”!
Sadly the Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, seems to have fallen for this common scam. (See https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/11/08/abbott_pc_support_scam_confession/).
If Labour were to win the next General Election then, as Home Secretary, Ms Abbott would be in charge of Cyber-Security!
What is the point of the call?
If a random stranger came up to you in the street and asked you for your Visa Card and PIN, would you give them it? We need to be just as wary of strange phone calls asking for access to our computers.
Generally the scammer, if granted access, will seem to find and to fix some “problems” on your PC. They may then charge you a very reasonable £40, or so. Obviously you pay this by credit card and you read out to them all of your card details.
Then you try to use the card for a legitimate purchase and, of course, you have no money left!
The other thing they will have done whilst working on your computer is to drop some software on there that allows them to track your every keystroke. In this way they can learn all of your various account details and secret passwords, which are invaluable to steal more from you.
Can I stop them calling?
If you do get such a call there is little that you can do to stop them in future, as they call from abroad and can avoid our laws.
I tell them that I don’t own a computer, and that there are none in the house, which can confuse them and amuse me.
A more radical alternative, which has been recommended to me in the past, is to ask what the caller is wearing. This elicits the question of why you would wish to know. To which the response is that you’re wearing nothing at all and the sound of their voice is sending you crazy with desire.
But please only try this at home. And don’t blame me if you end up on a register somewhere!
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© Michael Donkin 2018