I've noticed a rise in the number of clients telling me they've had a random call from someone with a foreign accent (Indian or American, typically) "informing" them that they've got some kind of problem with their computer. Obviously this is a scam and you should know how the whole thing works to avoid getting caught out.
First of all, they call you (often bounced through a NZ landline number so it looks legitimate) and tell you there's a problem with your computer. If you capitulate, they'll tell you to do a bunch of things on your computer, which gives them access to it. They then put something on the screen, while in the background secretly installing a program which they can use to control your computer at a later point.
Next they'll tell you they can fix the "problem", but it'll cost a certain amount of money. If you don't want to pay, they'll bombard you with calls telling you the problem is still there and they need to fix it. If you ignore the calls and the messages, they'll eventually use the program they installed in the background to lock you out of your computer, usually after a month or so. Bummer. The best thing to do is not to give them access in the first place, but, if you have gone along with their instructions, the installed software is usually pretty easy for a computer professional to remove.
If you do start to get these kinds of phone calls, here's the best way to deal with them. Record the phone numbers they're coming from, don't do anything the scammers say and hang up on them (you can also string them along if you're feeling vindictive, or tell them you know they're a scammer). Don't answer any future calls from them, but take down the times, dates and phone numbers of the additional calls. They may call on multiple numbers, but keep hanging up on them; eventually they will get the message.
Finally, you should to report the incidents to your phone service provider, who will often take steps to block or otherwise deal with the offending phone numbers. If you've called someone for computer support, obviously that's a different story. But unsolicited calls about your computer are always scams. Antivirus packages don't protect against this sort of activity, though they can be useful in preventing other kinds of attacks. Remember: if in doubt, hang up.
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