Your computer is in danger, or is it?

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Have you, or someone you know, received a phone call from a complete stranger who said your computer was in danger of crashing? They said that they work with…insert any legitimate computer/software company here… and your computer sent them a message that it is about to crash. This crash will result in a catastrophic loss of all of your data. Once they have you significantly concerned for the security of your personal information, they indicate that they can fix the issue for you over the phone. All you have to do is permit them remote access to your computer and pay a technical support fee, which can be several hundred dollars.

The truth is, unless you have made some special kind of contractual arrangement, your computer will never take it upon itself to contact another organization. You may ask, how do they know my name and other personal information? Simple. It is available through a variety of public directories and databases. For example, they can go to different websites to obtain residential addresses in an area. Then they simply go to that county’s Property Appraisers website and acquire personal information associated with that address. Now a call can be made and they can ask for the resident by name and be able to verify their home address. This minimal amount of information is often enough to convince some people the call is legitimate.

Here are some tips to remember:

  • Recognize your computer is not contacting people for you.
  • Do not give remote computer access to anyone you did not contact for help, and then only after you are certain they are a trusted service provider.
  • Never give personal information to anyone you do not know & trust
  • Never provide your financial or credit card information to anyone you do not know & trust.
  • No legitimate company will contact you and ask you for your password or other confidential information

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