You receive a call sometime around noon. You answer it. The man on the other line claims he can fix your Windows computer. It’s always a Windows computer in his spiel, no matter what operating system you’re actually running. He may claim your computer has been hacked. What he wants from you? He’ll demand that you give him personal information in order for him to remotely access your computer and fix whatever problem he claims you have.
The problem is clear. He’s not actually associated with Microsoft and he doesn’t have good intentions. He’s one of many scammers out there looking to take advantage of naïve computer users.
Were you to give him the information he was requesting, it wouldn’t end well for you. He may remotely log into your computer and implant malware or a virus. Sometimes, he doesn’t have any technical skills. He may just take your personal information and sell it on the black market. It’s hard to know just how many people out there have had their information tampered with, their computers infected, and their identities stolen thanks to people like them.
But you don’t have to fall for their trap. Even if you’re not good with computers, you can easily beat them at their own game. All it takes is one simple website.
They’re Not Really Microsoft
These scammers are not associated with Microsoft. If you’re a Windows user and you’re concerned about viruses or technical errors, always get in touch with Microsoft directly. Don’t let scammers like these worry you.
Should you receive a call like this, never give these people your personal information or allow them to help you with your computer. Preferably, you should hang up and refuse to engage with them.
Some insidious versions of the scam involve hackers infecting your computer with a fake support message that will pop up on screen. Always ask for their name and do a background check search free if you need to. They may pretend they’re associated with your anti-virus program or Microsoft and they’ll demand you call a phone number in order to allow them to fix the problem. Don’t listen to messages like this. Always call tech support and don’t call random numbers from threatening messages on your computer.
Beating Them at Their Own Game
No matter what kind of scam it is, you’ll want to take whatever number they’ve given you and pop it into a reverse cell phone number lookup service. There are dozens of free reverse cell phone lookup websites out there although you can spring for a paid version as well if you really want to. These services will show you who really owns the phone number you’re receiving a call from. Some websites, such as 800 notes, will even allow you to fill out a report about who’s calling you.
Consider the information that comes up. You’ll usually be given a general location of where the phone owner is based in. Some best phone reverse number lookup services, although they’re not always free, may even give you the name of the owner and whether the device they’re calling from is a cellphone or not.
Once you have this information, take the number and whatever other information came up and then compile a report with both your local police department and with the FTC. While they may not be able to shut down these scammers immediately, your report will be out there and authorities can take the provided information to track them down and help prevent these scammers from tricking and misleading computer owners in the future.