In recent weeks I received 3 calls from clients who had received calls or popup warning from either Microsoft, Telstra or other “Fake companies”. These calls or fake popups indicated that their systems were compromised and that they could fix the issue if remote access was permitted. One such company was Smart365.
Smart 365, told the client to remove their useless “Trend Micro” antivirus and let them replace it with another. This new antivirus was installed and was registered to a 3rd party “Bruce Smith” which was not my clients name. For the software and 2 years non-existent support they were charged $450. The computer had a number of other issues so it was decided that the best way forward was to backup all the data and then either rebuild the Windows 7 laptop (6 years old) or replace the laptop with a new Windows 10 model. The later was chosen.
All emails were recovered as were documents, photos, favorites(Bookmarks). Programs like Office 2010, Trend Micro reinstalled and configured. Printer reconnected and tested OK.
Once this was done a backup system was implemented using 3 backup drives. 1 Offsite to be used for the two home computers and one dedicated for each for the two computers. The offsite to be run as required perhaps monthly (MANUALLY) and the others are either scheduled as daily or weekly backup jobs.
A second customer received a call purporting to be from Telstra. They asked if they had a credit card. When they answered “No”, they then asked to process a payment via internet banking and they obtained remote access to the computer. This customer was an elderly gentleman who I imagine was too trusting. They then proceeded to withdraw funds out of his bank account. I had to visit and give his computer a scan and the all clear before the bank would allow further online transactions.
A third customer was presented with a pop up warning that the computer was compromised and to call the number on the screen. Here they were asked for online bank details which were not available so they then asked for a credit card. This was provided and $250 Dollars was taken. I removed all remote access software and scanned computer for other malware or possibly unwanted programs (PUP’s)
From the Microsoft Blog Website:
Helping consumers fight back
Our Customer Support Services team is leading efforts to help impacted customers. If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support, or affiliated with Microsoft, calls you:
- Do not purchase any software or services.
- Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
- Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
- Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.
My father in law took a call from “Telstra”. He said, “who is Telstra, I have not heard of them?” They then said they were an internet company. He said, “Internet?, is that like a fishing net?” At this point they hung up, frustrated I am sure.
Please be very careful. They are becoming more sophisticated with their methods of luring you in.