A common danger on the internet is the “tech support” scam. It strikes when you are browsing the web normally until a pop-up appears saying that a problem has been found with your PC. The warning will include a phone number to call for repairs. It may even appear that you are calling Microsoft for support. These pop-ups may prevent you from using your computer. If you call the number, the scammers will ask you to visit a website and then download remote access software which they will use to access your computer to perform fake repairs or worse. When the “repair” is done, they will ask for your credit card and attempt to charge it.
Recently scammers have added a new wrinkle. They will tell you they are from Microsoft and then ask you to visit the Microsoft remote support page (support.microsoft.com/help) to enter a code they read to you over the phone. Since this is a legitimate Microsoft page, it’s easy to assume that, once you enter the code given to you, you are safely connecting to Microsoft; however the scammers have found a way to direct you to them instead. Microsoft uses a third-party product called LogMeIn to gain access when they provide remote support. The scammers have figured out that they can use LogMeIn to generate an access code for you to enter on the Microsoft site. This works because the Microsoft remote support page doesn’t check to make sure the codes entered there were generated by Microsoft. It will accept the scammer’s LogMeIn code and then the scammer will be connected to your computer.
To prevent becoming a victim, it’s important to remember that scammers will always be updating and improving their methods. The best prevention is to be suspicious of any unsolicited communication about your PC or your internet accounts. Even if the scammer directs you to visit a trusted website to enter their access code, the code itself can be fraudulent.
Often just restarting your computer is enough to get rid of a wayward browser pop-up. If there is any doubt, you can always reach out to us at New York Geek Girls and we can double-check for you and clear up any issues as well so you can safely get back to work!