Last year I posted an article about various scams reported to me by clients and friends (rather sheepishly). I re-wrote the article for the Realcom Applications website http://www.realcom.co.uk/scams.html
I was horrified to hear these stories this week:
- Our parish councillor was emailed by the local police Neighbourhood Watch asking her to alert parishioners about this nasty scam pretending to be genuine emails from Microsoft. https://www.neighbourhoodlink.co.uk/da/21812/Beware_of_fake_Microsoft_notification_emails.html
- A client received a phone call from someone claiming to represent Microsoft who told him his computer was infected and the caller could fix it. Indeed the remote caller got access to my client’s PC (he could see the cursor moving around) and declared all was well. Since then his PC has been behaving oddly and he daren’t use his on-line bank or buy anything with a credit card for fear (justified!) that the PC is infected with a key-logger.
I suppose with so many of our applications – especially Microsoft, Firefox, Adobe – continually doing updates when we’re on-line it’s easy to think that someone out there is looking out for us. They are – but it’s the BAD GUYS who are really interested.
It’s OK – be paranoid!
Always be on guard and never let anyone other than your trusted IT support people have access to your computer.
Crazy that we still have to worry about this kind of thing. I suppose there are just as many vandals, muggers and terrorists in the on-line world as in the real world.
I received an email today purporting to be a payment confirmation from Skype. Now, I do use Skype occasionally but I certainly hadn’t authorised any subscription payment. The email offered a hyperlink to paypal.com to see the transaction details. On closer inspection the link went to a qayqal.com address – not PayPal at all. I didn’t click it! A couple of tips:
- You should always check the actual address the hyperlink is pointing to (the address comes up if you hover your mouse over it)
- Never click on a link in an email unless you are absolutely certain – type the url into the browser address bar
- Make sure you have decent anti-virus / anti malware software on your PC , lap-top or tablet just in case you land on a dodgy website despite all precautions.
I’m always surprised at how trusting we are and how companies and even the government take that for granted. Banks call up and ask all kinds of questions about us including date of birth and secret questions before they will even explain what the call is about – and they take no steps to identify themselves! They could be anyone.