New Scam – Access to Computer

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I think there may be a new scam doing the rounds which falls under the category of remote access to your computer by foreign companies – for reasons unknown but I figure, err on the side of caution and assume it’s suspect. So this is by way of warning so you can be on the lookout. Here’s what happened.

Saturday afternoon 1 May around 4.00pm I received a call from an Indian-sounding gentleman telling me he was from “Secure” something or other (I wasn’t really listening to tell you the truth) and that they “worked for Windows” and that they were receiving ‘error messages’ from my computer and did I mind if he accessed my computer so that he could tell me exactly what was going on.

I asked who he was again – he repeated it but this time I really didn’t understand any of it other than “we work for Windows”. I was about to tell him that if he really DID work for Windows he would know that in fact he worked for Microsoft as Windows was the software not the company – but he was busy saying “Don’t you believe we work for Windows? Don’t you want to know why your computer is showing error reports? Don’t you want me to tell you how to fix it?” to which I said “Given my computer is not even ON at the moment I’m not sure how you’re getting error messages!” Then I just kept repeating “No, no, no, no, no, no”. He started to get annoyed and said “I would have thought you would want to know why there is a problem with your computer? Should I inform Windows to ignore error reports from your computer?” I replied: “Look, I’d have thought that you would have been more concerned with business users if in fact you DO provide this service for Microsoft and not a home user so no I don’t want to know and you can inform MICROSOFT that they can ignore everything from my computer.”

Remote access is possible so this could create problems for the unwary if they allowed remote access to their PC by legitimate-sounding people. I have given access to off-shore companies when I was trouble shooting and it’s a great service but in my opinion there is absolutely no reason why someone would ring you off the cuff like this. Remote access occurs when you call a help centre – YOU call a help centre – and they then request permission to access your computer to sort out what the problem may be.

The interesting thing here is the caller called me by half my name (Lyn Prowse, not Lyn Prowse-Bishop), and he phoned on my home number. My mobile is used when I subscribe to anything business-related and generally not at all for other things.

So, beware. I’ve reported this to the authorities in case it is a new scam doing the rounds – but particularly if you run a business or have a computer at home (and let’s face it, who doesn’t these days) be careful what you agree to. If you’ve not asked for it, chances are you don’t need it.

I would also recommend letting your family know – particularly if you have older parents who are venturing into the online world as they tend to be the ones who fall victim to these scammers more often than not.

If you think you may have been approached by a scammer, you can report it on the ACCC website

© Lyn Prowse-Bishop

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