Never give an unsolicited caller access to your computer.
That’s the advice given by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecomunications Commission, and Sharonann Dube of Lake Cowichan agrees.
Dube was targeted for the second time in the last two years by a caller claiming to be working for Microsoft.
“Last spring he managed to talk his way into my computer and take control of it,” said Dube.
The caller said he was from Windows support and that Dube’s computer was slow and there were things he could do to help her with the problem. The caller then proceeded to try and sell Dube virus protection software that, to her, looked like it was similar to Norton Antivirus software, as well as charge her a fee for fixing supposed problems on her computer.
But Dube got a bad feeling and said she would have to think about it and talk to her daughter.
“It didn’t cost me in the fact that he didn’t take me for a ride, or get a hold of my information, but it cost me to get the computer scanned to make sure,” said Dube.
Dube was called again just over a week ago, but this time she was ready.
“This time, the guy phones me the other night at about 8:30 p.m., he tells me he’s Windows support and I immediately get my hackles up,” said Dube.
She told the caller she knew he was a scam and that she was going to call the police, told him to “F” off and hung up the phone. A few seconds later, the phone rang again. It was the same caller who then proceeded to tell Dube to “F” off.
“This guy was brazen,” said Dube.
She hopes to bring attention to the issue so that others don’t fall victim. And you might think that this is a rare occurrence, but not according to Dave MacDonald of Lake Cowichan Computers. He says that he gets at least one customer every couple of weeks coming in to his store or phoning him because they have been targeted.
“Microsoft never calls anybody, Shaw never calls anybody. Nobody calls anyone at your home to tell you something’s wrong with your computer, ever,” states MacDonald. “The quickest way to get these people to go away, because they’re very pushy, is to say you don’t own a computer, or you own a Mac.”
If you have fallen victim to this kind of scam, MacDonald advises saving your information and either wiping your computer yourself or having a professional help you, alerting your financial institution and canceling your credit card, and changing all of your online banking passwords as well as any computer passwords.
The CRTC adds that people who have been scammed should also have their number registered with the National Do Not Call List, lodge a complaint with the DNCL and contact local law enforcement. The DNCL can be found at lnnte-dncl.gc.ca. The CRTC adds that individuals should never give out personal information to unsolicited callers, they should protect their computers with updated antivirus and anti-spyware software and read online privacy policies carefully. Find the CRTC website by going to crtc.gc.ca.
Dube wrote down the numbers that showed on her call display when the caller trying to scam her phoned for the second time. She says to watch out for 607-733-6833 and 607-722-9687.