Greensboro, NC -- A tech scheme is making the rounds and it all starts with a phone call.
Take a look at this email 2WTK got from a viewer. It reads:
I received a phone call from a person claiming to be from Microsoft Help & Support. She stated that my computer was sending reports to them that it was about to CRASH and I needed to update my registration/license for a cost of $192. They uploaded a networking virus onto my computer to allow remote control access.
John went on to write that his wife told him this was not a good thing. Oh, she was right.
Tech Expert, Kent Meeker of TechScout says, "It's a scheme. Microsoft doesn't have a customer service/monitoring. And if they did it would be for big corporations not for the everyday person, they just don't operate like that."
This isn't the first call or email 2WTK has had about this remote access scheme. And Kent says, he has clients that didn't call him and fell for it and are now out thousands of dollars.
"Once someone has remote access to your computer they use a product called malware to go through your files on your computer and collect data from pictures, to music, to email and passwords and more. They start with that first credit card, they find the password and charge it up. Then they go to the next credit card you have and on and on."
What really stinks is you give them permission to look at everything! "yes! They call you, tell you it's a problem, they send you an email and tell you to click a link. The link basically gives them permission to have access your information and your information turns into money for them."
Is there ever a time when remote access is ok? Kent says only when you know the computer person face to face. Even then, he says, you need to have a relationship with that person, because they are going to have access to everything you have.
If you have other tech questions, Kent can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
Like any unsolicited call or email always get in touch with the company yourself. not from the number or email they give you.
Microsoft has a page dedicated to Avoiding Phone Schemes. Here is part of their advice if you have already given your information out:
What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person
If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:
Change your computer's password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.
Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charge you for it, this is also a scam.)
Note: In Windows 8, Windows Defender replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. Windows Defender runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. However, you can use it anytime to scan for malware if your computer isn't working properly or you clicked a suspicious link online or in an email message.