TalkTalk and Microsoft Scam Calls
Yesterday I visited yet another customer who had received a call to inform him that his computer had a virus that needed to be removed. According to my customer the caller, allegedly from TalkTalk, was quite convincing, they apparently knew the customers name, phone number, home address and email address! It wasn’t until they asked him to download TeamViewer that he suspected something wasn’t quite right.
The scam normally works in this order.
- You receive an unsolicited call from an unknown number
- The caller informs you they are from the tech support of a well known company
- They tell you your computer has a serious virus, or faults that need fixing
- You are asked to go to your computer and open ‘Windows Event Viewer’
- The caller tells you that the ‘Errors you see need fixing’
- Next you’re directed to a website to download TeamViewer so they can fix the problem
- They then take control of your computer and ‘Fix it’
- You are then asked to pay for the service, and subscribe to an annual preventative service
That’s it, they have just scammed you for around £200.
This type of cold call scam is happening more and more, and the only reason it is occurring more is because people feel they are obliged to be nice and do as the caller asks. Unfortunately most of us put our trust in others when we feel they are more knowledgeable than ourselves, it’s a little like taking your car into a garage and being told it needs new brakes, when the reality is that it might not. The fact that ‘we’ (Most people with any sense of morals) live in a society where we trust most other people is something that the computer phone scammers play on. In fact they are very good at what they do, scamming money from people. They always try and gain your confidence by making an opening statement, something along the lines of ‘Hello Mr XYZ, how are you today?’ If you get this type of statement when you answer a call you can be assured that the caller is probably either trying to sell you something, or is a scammer. From experience I have found that if I answer a call and the caller says ‘Hello Mr Ward…How are you today?’ Then I know they are after one thing, my money! If the caller then states they are from TalkTalk, or Microsoft then your best option is just to put the phone down. It might seem rude, but it is the best way of dealing with these kinds of calls. If you don’t then you are at a HIGH RISK of being scammed. I’ve even known people fall for the scam who have decided to try and talk to the scammers and tell them they are wasting their time..as it will never work on…Damn.
Most of the scam calls appear to originate from call centres in India. According to the Guardian newspaper the calls are made through an IP telephone system, this means that the call costs very little and also means that the caller ID is not available, which makes tracing the call impossible. And this is one of the reasons that the scammers get away with it. You might also be interested to know that in most cases the UK banks will not refund the money to you, as you have given permission for the fee to be taken in return for the service that you agreed to.
Luckily for my customer he twigged something wasn’t right and put the phone down, which is what I recommend you do if you receive one of these calls. If you are reading this and have just been scammed then can I suggest that you contact your bank to inform them that you think you’ve been scammed, and then go to Control Panel/ Programs and Features/ Add Remove Programs, and uninstall TeamViewer.
It might also be a wise idea to change the passwords for your email accounts, and any online accounts such as online banking, Amazon, eBay, and any social media applications that you have.
I know that I have written about this type of scam previously, but I feel EVERYONE needs to be aware.
You will NEVER get a cold call from Microsoft or TalkTalk regarding your computer, so if you do, then say nothing and just PUT THE PHONE DOWN.
PS Sharing is caring, so use the social buttons below to ‘share’ this knowledge with others and let’s beat the scammers.