- Computer service scams are more common every day, and the opportunities for you to spend $300 for no good reason continue to grow. Before you say, “That will not happen to me,” consider the ways that this can happen.
- You get a phone call from a technician from “Microsoft”…The narrative is that the caller states that they are from “Microsoft” and they have been monitoring your computer and would like to show you how your computer is infected. You allow them on your computer and they show you a few things and then they say they will fix and maintain your computer for a year for $299.
- You are looking for technical support from Microsoft, or Verizon, or QuickBooks and type in the Technical Support phone number for Microsoft in a Google or similar search engine. When you talk to the technician and tell them your problem, they ask to get on your computer and “look around.” Of course they find problems (probably unrelated to why you called) and tell you that they can fix the problems and cover you for a year with online service for $299.
- You are on the Internet and suddenly a screen pops up and tells you that you are infected and to call this technical support number immediately because your computer and data are at risk. You call the number and talk to a technician who asks to look around your computer and… Well, you know the rest of the drill.
Why do people fall for these scams? Because they think that they are talking to someone with some knowledge or authority, and they attempt to scare you into accepting their solution. If you tell them that you have a local computer store that takes care of your computer, they will say that they are not “qualified” to be able to perform the fix like they can. They will tell you that your bank accounts, data, and phones are at risk, and unless you take care of this problem NOW, you might lose everything. The problem is that these “technicians” are very pushy, and will not take NO for an answer.
Here are some facts:
- Microsoft will NEVER call you. They don’t care who you are and they do not monitor Internet usage
- ANYBODY can get their name at the top of a search engine page. Just because they are up there does not mean that they are Microsoft, or Verizon, or a software maker.
- When you get that number on the screen to call, just think, “How did it get there to begin with?” Somebody did put that number to call on your computer… it’s the company that wants to scam you. And the more pressure they put on you to fix it now, the more leery you should be about using them.
So, here is the best plan of action:
- When you get a call from “Microsoft” asking to get on your computer, hang up!
- If you need to get technical support, first go to that company’s website and look for the “Contact Us” page. You may have to look around on their site for it, but every company has one or more contact numbers. DO NOT USE A SEARCH ENGINE TO FIND THE NUMBER.
- Finally, if you get a pop-up on your screen telling you to call a number…turn your computer completely off and then restart it. In many cases you will not see that message again.
If you are truly concerned about whether your computer is in fact at risk, take it to your local TRUSTED computer repair store and tell them your experience. Most of the time you will find that this was a false alarm, and you will have saved yourself around $300 or more. If your computer is truly infected, your local store can do a better job than anyone can over the phone, and it will cost you considerably less.