Identity theft. Do you think you won’t be impacted by it? Here’s a real life call we recently received:
“Hi, I hope you can help me.”
The woman’s voice –let’s call her Jane –was tremulous. She was near tears.
“I hope we can. Tell us what your needs are.”
“I’m in my second day of trying to recover from identity theft, and I’m sure it all started with a pop-up on my computer. I have a lot of work and stuff on my computer that I need to get to. But I’m afraid to use it. Another company has looked at the computer and says it’s safe to use now, but I’m not sure if I should believe them. What should I do?”
This is not the first time a victim of identity theft has come to Bergen IT for help. While it’s an all-too-familiar story, each person is upset and needs more than just hand holding.
Our job is to ensure that:
1. we review the details of what happened to the individual and how their computer might have been compromised;
2. their computer security is updated and upgraded for better protection;
3. their computer is fully scanned for any lingering malware, viruses, or browser hijackers and completely clean;
4. their personal files are not infected or compromised;
5. they are made aware of the street smarts needed to avoid being fooled in the future into giving away personal information or access to their computer.
Identity Theft: Beware Pop-Ups or Surprise Calls
In Jane’s case, a pop-up appeared on her screen with a warning that her computer was infected. The message said that she should immediately call the phone number on the screen for “Microsoft support.” Jane isn’t alone: thousands of people get disconcerting messages like this daily. People also get phone calls from scammers claiming to be from Microsoft or other tech companies. These scammers will tell you that your computer is infected and Microsoft can remove the virus.
Whether by pop-up or phone call, the “clean-up” being offered by these scammers frequently ranges in price from $200 to $600, and involves remotely connecting to your computer for the service.
If you encounter such a situation, there’s only one appropriate response:
JUST SAY NO.
These messages are a blatant lie. Agreeing to provide remote access will be the first step towards identity theft. If you are on your computer, the only pop-up regarding infections you should ever receive will come from your antivirus program. And the message will never tell you to make a phone call to have your computer cleaned up. After all, that’s the job of the antivirus program.
And while Microsoft is certainly a very big, very sophisticated company, they:
• would have no idea that your computer is infected, and
• would not make a phone call out of the blue to tell you to disinfect your computer.
How bad can saying “yes” be when a voice you don’t know says over the phone that they can connect to your computer remotely and clean up your computer? Find out in Identity Theft: Is Your Computer Infected?.
Is your computer not functioning well?
Contact Bergen IT:
Bergen IT is a client-centered, comprehensive tech support and strategy company for businesses, professionals, and homeowners. The company services customers in the NJ and New York City metropolitan area, including northern New Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, and Passaic, NJ), Manhattan and the Bronx, Rockland and Westchester, and can remotely assist clients across the USA.
Bergen IT provides computer, mobile device, audio, TV, and home theater services. Our focus is on providing personal attention, reasonable rates and top-notch expertise. For more information, go to: www.bergenit.net.