“Hello, I’m Calling From the Internet…”
Most of us know better than to open a suspicious e-mail or download attachments from unknown sources, but scammers have no boundaries and are resorting to making phone calls, pretending to be from legitimate sources. I had two such scams brought to my attention recently, which I will share with you all now.
Several weeks ago, a friend of ours text us and said she received a call from Windows. The person on the phone informed her that she had a serious problem with her computer, and it needed to be fixed immediately. When she insisted he was mistaken, the caller became agitated and began yelling at her. She promptly told the caller off and hung up.
First of all, Windows would never call you because “Windows” is not a company; it is a product of Microsoft. That’s like saying iPhone is calling you. Uh, yeah, please try harder! Second of all, even if the caller said they were from Microsoft, Bill Gate’s multi-billion-dollar company does not make personal house calls to tell you something is wrong with your machine. Ever. Unless you directly contacted Microsoft first about a problem, you will never receive a legitimate call from Windows or Microsoft.
A few weeks after this incident, one of our customers calls to tell us she received a phone call from the World Wide Web that she has a Trojan on her computer and if it isn’t removed immediately, they will disconnect her computer from the Internet. Once again, the caller became angry when our customer protested. Our customer promptly hung up, but this scammer was persistent and kept calling!
I had to laugh pretty hard at this. I thought, “Wow, a call from the World Wide Web is like saying the Internet is calling you!” However, I did a bit of research, and my comment is not entirely true. There is an actual World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that doesn’t have any physical “headquarters” but has four institutions around the world. But again, just like Microsoft, the W3C isn’t going to make personal calls to tell you something is wrong with your computer.
So what’s the scam exactly? Neither of these two incidents advanced far enough to see what the callers wanted. I did a quick Google search into the World Wide Web scam, and various forums, including this one, indicate the caller attempts to lure the victim into downloading and installing remote access software, such as TeamViewer*. If successful, the caller has access to everything on the computer, including personal information. We all know this is a very, very bad thing.
This problem is so prevalent that the W3C has a warning on their own website about it.
So the message here? Please do not trust any correspondence (phone call or otherwise) from Windows, Microsoft, the World Wide Web or any other familiar companies that tell you something is wrong with your computer. Do not allow remote access to ANYONE you do not know unless you have directly initiated contact with some sort of tech support.
If you are ever unsure about the legitimacy of an e-mail or phone call you received, please do not hesitate to contact us! Forward the suspicious E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 352-246-8069. We are here to help!