Scams are everywhere on the Internet. After many years of drilling into people that a lot of what is offered on the Internet is bogus, most people now understand they shouldn't be clicking on links to amazing offers and the like. Unfortunately, the people out there who are trying to scam you have seen the decline in their "profits" and have started taking a more direct approach to relieve you of your hard earned cash!
I've heard and read about many reports of people receiving phone calls from a "Microsoft representative" or a tech from "ABC Company" or any number of other phony firms. They're informed that a problem has been detected on their computer and that they should immediately allow the caller to fix the issue for them. They then proceed to try to strong-arm anyone who hesitates by "taking control" of the situation. "No, no, no", the victims are told. "You should go to your computer right now! It's broadcasting all over the Internet!". I've even had people tell me they've been told this "fact" even when their computers were off!
If your computer is off, it's not transmitting anything. And even if it was transmitting anything, there is no identifiable information being sent out on the internet that anyone can contact you with. It would take an enormous amount of work match an IP address (which is the address your computer uses on the Internet) with a telephone number. Internet Service Providers are the only companies with that information readily available, and they're not allowed to give it out. So, how, exactly, do they know it's you? Easy. They don't. They're trying to exploit the fact that most people know a little bit about the Internet, but not enough to know they're trying to scam you. Internet security specialists have labeled it a form of social engineering. By being controlling and dominating on the phone, they can use your fear of the uncertain to take advantage of you. They just randomly phone numbers in the hopes they find someone who isn't sure.
If you get an unsolicited call from ANYONE who wants access to your computer, hang up! Giving them access can be akin to handing them your wallet and passport. And you will not be happy with the outcome.
Thanks for reading! Hope this helps you with your next computer purchase.
Until next week, I'm Computer Dave
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