There’s a new phone scam making the rounds lately that could cost you a bundle and your identity if you aren’t careful. I trust most of you don’t actually listen to unknown callers, but these guys can act surprisingly convincing. The supposed scam is that they call you pretending to be your Internet Service Provider and they’re calling to provide technical support. Here’s an excerpt from the article at the Consumerist.

The call came in as “Unknown caller” on my Caller-ID. The caller announced that this was a “technical support” call from my Internet Service Provider (never specifying an ISP name), and emphasized that it was not a sales call. Following his script, he’d asked me if my computer had been running slow lately, if I’d seen “404 or 403 errors” when surfing the web, etc. I went along and said, yeah, my computer had been running slow.

To ensure that I was really talking to a scammer — and to waste their time — I started to rant about my (fictitious) ISP. And the caller agreed that my (fictitious) ISP had told him to call me.

Then, he went straight for the close: “Can you turn on your computer, and bring up a web browser? It’s already up? Good. Now go to … let me spell that for you. You’re there? Good. Now click on the ‘Remote Assistance’ icon.” Since the “Remote Assistance” icon was a link to a file called “TeamViewer_Setup.exe”, I thought it might be a really good idea not to run it, so I quit playing along at that point.

Now if you consider yourself to be technically savvy, there’s little chance you’re going to fall for this scam. However, I can easily see someone like my mom or grandmom giving away their credit card information to a supposed authority on the phone. Always exercise a bit of caution when dealing with strangers and be sure to warn others of this scam.

Read more: Don’t Let An Unknown Caller Talk You Into Downloading Software [Consumerist]

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  • Bobbybobby

    I got that same call today.. only they said there were from Microsoft. They took me to some files on my computer and told me they were viruses that are 10x more powerful then anything. And asked me to download teamviewer the program so they could remote access my computer. Idiots.. I’ve used teamviewer before with friends.. its cool.. but i knew what their intentions were. Funny thing is.. I never even turned my computer on. I wasted 17 minutes of their life laying on my bed holding back a laugh. They were convinced I was a student.. and I told them i wasn’t.. makes me think they got my phone number from an old college or something.. or maybe somewhere I signed up for something and acknowledged I was a student at the time. IDK. I hope the FCC or FBI gets in on this soon.

  • Bryan

    It’s really irritating how scammers are now using a program like Teamviewer as a tool to screw people. I’m sure these tricksters have gone this route due to the large number of people who aren’t very computer savvy, but knowing the signs early on can aid in preventing people from getting tricked into falling for these kinds of scams.

    First, no legitimate company is going to call their customers — isp provider or otherwise — and ask them to download software without the customer knowing exactly what and why they need the program, especially a remote access program.

    Second, always verify the caller’s validity before answering their verification questions; real companies should already know who their customers are. Giving scammers upfront information already gives them the upperhand because now all they have to do is agree with you.

    Finally, NEVER allow anyone remote access to your computer unless you know who they are and what company you’re dealing with. Furthermore, legitimate companies will ask for your permission to remotely access your computer BEFORE ever asking you to download the software to do it and generally, you’re the one calling them, not the other way around.

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