We’ve talked numerous times about tech support phone scams, but those calls keep coming and readers keep wondering if they’re legit. Take this comment from Sandra:

I just got a call from New York, I asked his name.  He said Harry Patel with People Connect. He said I have issues in my PC. I am not aware of any. He asked me to sit at my PC , I said I would call him back. He said he is in NY. to call this number 08081893158 and ask them to put me through. I said I did not have time. He is going to call me back in the morning. I suspect a scam. Please respond.

spyware-hacker-cartoon

One good bit of advice is:  If you suspect a scam, it probably is. Our friend Harry Patel has several bright red, flashing warning signs surrounding him.

1:  He called you.  Tech support companies don’t just randomly call people. Microsoft doesn’t just call people. NOBODY just calls people about their PC problems. Do mechanics randomly call you up and tell you there’s something going on with your car?  If they called you (and you did not previously call tech support for a device or service and schedule an appointment for someone to call back), IT IS A SCAM!

2:  He claimed to know that something was wrong with your PC.  These people have no way of knowing what’s going on with your PC. They have no magic connection and no way to see what’s going on inside. The only way someone can take a look at what’s happening in your PC is if you allow that person to remote in. But you have to grant that access from your PC.  If someone calls up and says they can see what’s going on with your device, that person is lying.

3. You aren’t having any problems with your PC.  But here’s how “Harry” will convince you there is an issue. He’ll most likely have you open up your Windows Event Viewer and you’ll be alarmed to see all sorts of errors in red. These mean absolutely nothing. They’re just typical day-to-day operations from your PC and don’t necessarily indicate a problem. Then, he will likely want permission to remote into your PC.  Now he’s got you.  Harry can very easily mess up your PC. He’ll either want a credit card number to fix the non-existent remote viewer problems, or he’ll ask for your info to fix the damage he causes in your PC once he remotes in. Now he’s got your credit card number and access to your PC and all of its information.

To reiterate:   If they call you: SCAM!   If they say they can see that something is wrong with your PC: SCAM!  If you happen to have a whistle handy, blow it into the phone before hanging up.

~ Cynthia