It’s 6:35pm on a normal weekday evening on the Kapiti Coast, dinner’s almost ready to serve and…….the phone rings. You pick it up and there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the other end. Suddenly after about 5 seconds a foreign voice comes on the line and quickly introduces themselves as “Microsoft Support”. They tell you that they’ve detected a problem on your computer and they want to connect to it and remedy the issue.
Does this all sound familiar – it should, because almost all of us will have encountered this targeted scam in the past few months – sometimes repeatedly!
I want to be 100% clear here:
- THIS IS A SCAM! …..Plain and simple, no if’s, but’s or maybe’s, this is a SCAM.
- Microsoft NEVER make unsolicited phone calls, NEVER EVER!
- No-one is monitoring your PC despite what the dirtbag on the phone may say
Have you wondered why these phonecalls normally occur around dinner time?
It’s because they know you’re at home and highly likely to answer.
Why is there a 5 second pause after you answer the call?
- Because these dirtbags have a computer to do all the calling for them. They load in a phone directory and away it goes. It rings a block of maybe a dozen numbers at once and every time someone answers, the computer then switches the call over to a real living dirtbag. It’s the switch-over that takes 5 seconds
- The 5 second pause is your moment of opportunity – HANG UP!
After all, when real people call you, do they ever wait 5 seconds before introducing themselves?
- If you miss the 5 second window and the patter starts,
HANG UP IMMEDIATELY.
- The moment anyone introduces themselves as being from Microsoft or Google or Facebook or any other computer company you’ve never dealt directly with,
HANG UP IMMEDIATELY
- Please don’t engage these people in conversation. They are not calling you to chat, they want to install nasty software and then charge you to remove it – they want to steal your money under false pretenses and they’ll tell you anything they think will encourage you to let them onto your computer, They are cunning and deceitful and they are thieves!
Bunk’s Rules of Dis-Engagement
- Be very suspicious of phonecalls around mealtimes and in the early evening
- Hang up if the phone is eerily silent for more than a few seconds when you first pick up the call.
Any genuine caller experiencing problems with the phone will call you back straight away, won’t they?
- Hang up immediately if you don’t know the caller or challenge them by saying “what is the nature of your call?”.
Don’t be embarrassed to interrupt them and don’t let them start their patter
- Hang up immediately if the caller introduces themselves as being from Microsoft or any other major computer company (or bank!)
- Hang up immediately if the caller says you have a problem with your computer
- Hang up immediately if the caller asks to be connected to your computer
- Hang up immediately if the caller tries to install or sell you computer software
- Hang up immediately if the caller tries to offer you free computer repair services
- If the calls become persistent, tell the caller you don’t have a computer and hang up
Where to get real Help
If you think your computer really has a problem (too slow, error messages, crashing etc) then please come along to a SeniorNet How Do I…? Workshop and discuss things with our experts. If you have a laptop (or even an All-in-1) being it along so we can have a closer look.
If you can’t bring your computer into SeniorNet, we have on our noticeboard, the names of a couple of reputable Computer Service organisations on the Kapiti Coast who will make housecalls.
You wouldn’t open your front door to strangers and let them walk around your home would you? Well, the same applies to your computer. Strangers are not welcome there either and you should never give them the opportunity of stealing from you in this nefarious way.
It’s sad that I have to say this but “please be suspicious and please be vigilant!”
Ironically this also reminds me of the message we give our children and grandchildren