If you’re a regular reader of our Online Safety Series, you’ll know that we always encourage our customers to keep an eye out out for any nasty phishing emails which land in their inbox.
But what about those scams which take place over a phone call? These are very real, and are easy traps for the technically unsure to fall into. The most common phishing phone scams are calls purporting to be from Microsoft regarding viruses on your computer. This particular scam has been ongoing since as far back as 2009, and continues strong to this day.
Microsoft is obviously aware of this issue, and have issued statements regarding these calls, however the calls are still persisting. These calls are commonplace for some customers and hopefully those customers have learned to simply hang up the phone, but for those who haven’t experienced the joy of these calls, here’s how they play out:
Stage 1: The Phone Call
You’ll receive a phone call at your home or office from someone claiming they’re from Microsoft and that you’ve got viruses on your computer. They may also say they’re from places as nondescript as the ‘Windows Technical Department’ (something I’d assume would be the world’s largest technical department, if in fact it actually existed).
Stage 2: The Download
The caller will then direct you to a website where you can download software which will let them remotely access your computer and remove the viruses for you.
Stage 3: The Scam
Once the caller has conveniently ‘removed’ these viruses from your computer, they’ll then offer you ‘lifetime protection’ from similar viruses, all for a convenient, once-off fee of course (the actual figure changes, a friend of mine fell for the trap and was slugged over $300 for their troubles).
Hopefully our Online Safety Series has taught you to be vigilant with potential scams. Don’t read or follow instructions from suspicious emails, and definitely don’t follow suspicious phone calls. Most importantly, don’t ever give out any personal information, whether it’s a password or credit card number, over the phone from someone who has called you.
Hang up the phone, don’t engage.It might save you a costly headache.
Facebook introduces phishing reporting
Finally this month, Facebook has introduced an email address which users can contact to report suspicious phishing attempts. So if you’re receiving some ‘interesting’ traffic on your account or emails claiming to be from Facebook that don’t look legitimate, be sure to drop the honchos at Facebook a line. They’re hoping that with millions upon millions of users, the Facebook community will band together and reduce phishing attempts on its network.