Tech Support Scams and Scareware

(Sorry about the lack of posts recently. I just switched day jobs, and the transition is still under way)

These are really just old tricks with a new twist. KnowBe4 is call them “new”, but this is simply the next evolution in the “Windows Tech Support Scam“. Basically, the scammer calls you and says your computer is infected, or in some other way compromised. They then convince you to allow them to access your computer to perform some remedial repairs. But, if they could detect these infections, didn’t they have access before (this should be the first clue)?

This new version is now emailed out to you, so it has the potential to reach out to a much wider audience in a much shorter time.

They email you with some notice that your account was compromised, or it shows “unusual login activity”. You are directed to click on some link, log in, and BAM! they have  your login credentials. And some of them have a phone number to call for help, which typically has you on perpetual hold. And some experts suspect your phone number is flagged for further follow-up.

What Can We Do?

I’m glad you asked.

First and foremost, you REALLY need to enable Multi-Factor Authentication wherever possible. A site has popped up in the past couple of years that shows many of the popular websites that have enabled MFA. That site is continually updated by the community, so it’s pretty up-to-date.

Second, NO WEBSITE WORTH VISITING will tell you that you’ve been compromised and provide a link to reset your password in the same email. In fact, the only emails that have password reset links (that I know of) are the ones that  you generate on your own when you click the “Forgot Password?” link on the website.

Third, don’t call any numbers that you get from the email itself. Do your own research to find the number(s).

From Our Friends at KnowBe4

“There is a new scam you need to watch out for. In the last few years, online service providers like Google, Yahoo and Facebook have started to send emails to their users when there was a possible security risk, like a log-on to your account from an unknown computer.

Bad guys have copied these emails in the past, and tried to trick you into logging into a fake website they set up and steal your username and password. Now, however, they send these fake security emails with a 1-800 number that they claim you need to call immediately.

If you do, two things may happen:

1) You get to talk right away with a real internet criminal, usually with a foreign accent, that tries to scam you. They claim there is a problem with your computer, “fix” it, and ask for your credit card.

2) You get sent to voice mail and kept there until you hang up, but your phone number was put in a queue and the bad guys will call you and try the same scam.

Remember, if you get any emails that either promise something too good to be true, OR looks like you need to prevent a negative consequence, Think Before You Click and in this case before you pick up the phone.

If you decide to call any vendor, go to their website and call the number listed there. Never use a phone number from any email you may have received. Here is a real example of such a call. Dont’ fall for it!


Stay Safe, my friends!

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