By Bob Hooper for The Island Connection
You would think that with all the info around today about hackers, scammers, malware and just plain thieves that no one would fall for a phone call, email phishing or fake website, but it happens all the time. Let’s look at some of the recent ones that are going around the islands.
You get a phone call from “Microsoft” or maybe a “Microsoft affiliate” that you did not start. What I mean is the call comes out of the blue and the person informs you that your computer is infected/running slow/has invalid software and you need his/her help. It is out and out a scam. Either hang up when you hear Microsoft or listen for a bit and make sure but in the end just hang up. I’ve had clients tell me that the person calling will cuss them, repeatedly call back, whatever they can do to get you to spend money. Can you imagine someone working for Microsoft calling you, then getting mad when you won’t spend $89 or $149 or more to “fix” your computer; of course not, so don’t fall for it. No one from Microsoft or any other reputable business would call you without you first initiating the contact. I would not call you out of the blue to sell you something and you should be very wary of those that do.
Next up is the email that comes from your best friend or some business that is fake. I’m sure you have received an email that has only an internet link in the body of the email and may or may not have a heading; well it’s most likely a virus waiting to infect your computer. Unless your friend tells you in another email or calls you, consider the email infected and delete right away. The same goes for that email from FedEx or USPS/UPS that informs you a package is being delivered or something is wrong with the delivery. It wants you to click on a link that sends you to an “official” website, which is really a fake and infected with all kinds of bad stuff. They send these out by the millions and always find someone waiting on a package so it seems OK. None of these companies will send you an email unless you start the ball rolling; if you went to the website and asked for email notifications. Same goes for email from your bank, stock broker, etc. that is not your usual correspondence with them. The baddies can make the email and the website look very real but small things should trick them up such as misspelled words or wording that does not make sense.
Remember that if it is un-solicited, either a phone call or an email, the chances of it being a scam are huge. Don’t fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book, this is called “social engineering” in that the bad guy is trying to get you to do something because you feel it’s OK. They prey on our good nature and want us to believe no one could be that bad. Be aware and don’t fall for the scams. If you are not sure or are a victim of one please call or email me for help.
As always if you have questions or need help you can call Rent A Bob at 843.822.7794 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.