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Phone Virus Scam

When People Phone You and Tell You that You've Got a Virus

This is something you need to be aware of, because sooner or later these scamsters will phone you. If you're aware of the scam, you are to some extent "vaccinated" against the problem.

Here's what happens: The phone rings and someone says "Your computer has a virus". They typically go on to make false claims such as that they are some official body, company, authority etc. They say you must switch on your computer and do some things because it has been reported as sending errors, having a virus, or doing something else antisocial.

Well don't! It's a scam! If you let these bad people have their way, they'll have you turn on the computer and then log in to some scam website and then they'll take control of your computer, install a virus or malware in it, or otherwise muck you up. They are not friendly and they will try to scam you.

There are many dodgy places doing this. They are relying on you being a sucker to dupe you into running their stuff. But you don't have to be fooled. Because...

1. How do they know it's your computer that's doing it?

2. How do they know your phone number? (They don't. They're just phoning people at random)

3. If they really did know anything about your computer, they would know a few key facts such as:

* The operating system (type, version, issue, etc).

* The screen resolution.

* What browser you are using.

If they don't know these things, then there's a good chance they don't really know anything about your behaviour on the Internet and they don't know about any virus (real or otherwise) that you may (or more likely may not) have.

One of the things they assume is that you have Microsoft Windows. They don't know this. It's just that they have to assume it because their virus that they are trying to scam you to have installed only runs on Windows. If you tell them that you have Linux or a Mac, they will just hang up. This proves they are liars.

You can argue with them if you like, but the fact is they are criminals trying to do harm to you and your computer. They are working on the slimmest of pretences, that you are daft enough to go to some unheard-of website and allow them to hijack your machine.

Some of these companies pretend to be Microsoft, or they pretend to be an AntiVirus company. The fact is none of these places actually phone customers and do these things. It's a scam from start to finish.

If any of these companies making these calls were genuine, (none of them are), here are some things which they would know and be able to tell you:

* What your phone number is.

* Things about your computer.

* The precise nature of the problem they are phoning about.

* Their own name.

* Their phone back number so you can verify them and call them back.

However, you may find they are a bit evasive when you ask these things. However, it's a good idea to waste their time because then it makes the scam less efficient.

It appears some of these scams are operated from sweatshops in India. These are like genuine phone centres in India but used for nefarious purposes. By doing this they are bringing disgrace upon the country. This of itself may be illegal in India, whereas phone hacking, presumably, is legal.

Anyway, are we clear about this? Whatever you do, don't let them get away with it. Don't let them get you to turn on your computer and perform various acts which would then get you into trouble.

Well, what if you've already been caught out? Fooled? You did what they told you to do? Don't despair. Here's some antivirus software and anti-spyware to help you clean your machine. Also, so you don't get caught out again, here are some antivirus measures to help avoid this kind of thing, which comes in many forms. It might also be worth your while visiting a proper computer shop to have the machine checked-over to make sure nothing's been missed.

Good Luck! Tell people you know, so they have a chance to avoid this kind of scam. You're welcome to link to this page.

Update: I have received such a call. Mine was from 4259981533. The call arrived at 4:15 in the morning, but the caller did not know that. They assumed it was 09:15 as they thought I was in the UK. I'm not. I'm in Panama! I did not let them know this. Instead I asked if they knew where I was geographically. They refused to say, so it is reasonable to suppose they did not know. (Note that any high-level "virus" matter would know where the IP of the computer was).

The person on the other end was polite, and I was polite, and I tried to give the company any possible chance to give me any evidence that this was genuine. No such evidence was forthcoming. They could not even tell me the screen resolution or operating system version.

The person at 4259981533 claimed to be in the USA, but the accent suggested strongly more likely India. This is of interest, but is circumstantial evidence, because it's not a hard-fact. In contrast, if the person accusing a computer of something on the Internet logs does not have IP information, a few basic facts about the machine, then that means it is a hoax. In this case, no technical information was forthcoming. Therefore, it is "fishing", or even "phishing". It would be like if a phone call came in and some joker said "This is your bank. We have detected irregular activity on your account". The recipient's response should be "Which bank?" and then "What account number has irregular activity?". If the person saying they are from the bank does not know, then they are not the bank! It's a bank hoax

Now bearing in mind that at this point I had ascertained I was talking with a scamster, although admittedly a scamster who had at least the decency to be polite and calm, I pointed out that I am creating a webpage about exactly this scam, so, please tell me any saving grace that the thing might have? They said goodbye.

A quick search for 4259981533 reveals many pages of this sort of thing. Of course that's not the only number these scams are coming from.

Another one is the UK number 01225 38203089 (although they are probably not in the UK). There are various online reports about scams coming from that number.

An incoming phone virus scam number could be anywhere. However, if you receive a phone call in which someone accuses your computer of having a techie problem, you should grab the phone number and do a search for it. You may find you are not alone.

At this scam-busting website, many other scams are explained, and the knowledge of them helps to vaccinate people against them by being forewarned.

Here's another phone virus scam story...