Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - Almanac Vol. 62, No. 10
Be Wary of Fake Tech Support Telephone Call Scams!
It&apos:s natural to think you can avoid becoming a victim of cybertheft by avoiding suspicious websites and deleting fake emails. In recent years, however, cybercriminals have started using another method to hack into your computers: telephone calls.
The telephone call scam works in a variety of ways. A scammer may call you claiming to be a computer tech from a well-known company such as Microsoft, or a fake alert window may pop up in your internet browser that instructs you to call "technical support." Once you are on the telephone, the scammer attempts to convince you to install software that allows them to take control of your computer remotely. This scam works because it takes advantage of our reasonable concerns about computer viruses and other threats, and by enticing us with offers of free software or services to help protect our systems.
Once the cybercriminal has access to your computer, he or she can do many things, including encrypting your data to make it unreadable until you pay to decrypt it, reconfiguring your computer to make it more vulnerable to cyber attacks, and installing malicious software to capture your personal, sensitive data, including online banking user names and passwords.
The easiest way to protect yourself is to never give control of your computer to an unsolicited third party, never provide credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from tech support and never give your password on the telephone. No legitimate organization should ever ask you to do this.
If you receive a questionable, unsolicited call from someone claiming to be a tech support person, hang up and contact your Local Support Provider (LSP) using a trusted phone number or email address. If you think you may have fallen for a fake tech support telephone call scam, contact your LSP or the Office of Information Security (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible.
For more information on these types of scams and how to protect yourself, see: