Friday, September 16, 2011

Don't Try to Out-Nerd a Nerd: Tech Support Phone Scams

razor wire on fence - silent sentryNerds On Site recently posted a blog about tech support phone scams. In this scam, someone calls you out of the blue, says that they are your computer person and ask you to give them access to your computer. My nerd had told me about this scam and this afternoon, he was absolutely giddy to tell me that he'd actually gotten the call. Yep, someone called my nerd claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support. 

This is where my darling husband became an evil nerd. He played along with the guy. We have one computer that is connected to the internet, but not part of our network at home. This will sound crazy, but it has no antivirus on it and he actually wants it to get infected so that he can practice cleaning it. Anyway, he granted the guy access to this computer and let him go through his whole spiel while trying not to laugh at the phony information he was being fed. I'm impressed that my husband was able to hold his laughter in while this fake support person told him lie after lie.

He even tried to say that our Microsoft product key had expired. He was all set to get hubby to sign up for a plan to "protect" his computer when hubby finally told him that he wanted nothing to do with their scam and to take him off the list. He immediately disconnected the computer from the session and hung up the phone.
Bortusk Criminal Swag
I asked him why he went to all that trouble when he knew it was not a legitimate phone call and his response was that, "I figured he was wasting my time, so I might as well waste his!" This is not the way to deal with people who are trying to get you to buy in to their scam, and I do not think he had the best idea, even if he did have a lot of fun. Believe me when I say that the computer will be cleaned thoroughly.

It surprises me everyday how many people fall for these types of scams. The fact that these people keep calling shows that it must be lucrative for them. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has said that this computer scam has gone viral across Canada. It's important to be vigilant about who you share your personal information with. For tips on how to recognize fraud and scams, see the Anti-Fraud Centre's tips. Don't be a victim.

I think the best piece of advice on their tip list is "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".  It reminds me of one of my favourite phrases, "Don't take any wooden nickles."  Don't take things at face value.  Do a little digging, ask some questions.  Legitimate businesses don't have anything to hide.  Scammers do and they will not be forthcoming with information.

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