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Unsolicited Calls From an IT Firm to Fix Your PC


By Joseph Kexel - Posted on 25 August 2014

A client of mine was called today due to problems on their PC being seen on the Internet. They unfortunately allowed themselves to be tricked into running TeamViewer, a remote control program. The good news is they balked at giving a credit card number, thank goodness.

Okay, first of all, this is pure unadulterated industrial strength BS. Though an infected PC could be doing stuff online the best anybody would know is the IP address of your DSL/CABLE modem. Usually, the most information they will be able to glean from that is which ISP you use. There is no way for them to identify you to the point of getting your phone number.

The offender is simply cold calling random numbers or some number from some purchased list. Simply, it is likely anybody they call will have a PC and the Internet connection required to pull off the scam. From Census data nearly 80% have a PC and almost 75% have Internet. (http://www.census.gov/hhes/computer/publications/2012.html, look for XLS file near bottom)

The scam goes like this.....

1) You receive a unsolicited call claiming your PC is messed up and can be seen on the Internet. (NOTE: This is RED FLAG #1, they cannot know your phone number, they are just using the fact 3 of 4 households have the prerequisites for this scam to work.)

2) You are are told to run eventvwr which is a valid Windows file that shows the system logs. No matter how well your system is running, a few things will be in there that the caller will explain means the end of your PC is near. (NOTE: This is RED FLAG #2 for they are asking you to run programs on your PC that you likely have no clue what they do, legitimate or not.)

3) They will then direct you to go to a website to download and run a remote access program. I think they like TeamViewer for it is easy to explain to people and does not lead back to them in any way. TeamViewer is a legitimate remote access program, much like what I use to get remote control of your PC as a service person. However, even a legitimate tool in the hands of a criminal is dangerous. A tire iron is just a useful tool until it smashes a window to gain illicit access to property. (NOTE: This is RED FLAG #3 for you are now downloading files from the Internet that you have no clue at all what they are!)

4) Convince you strongly to let them "service" you. $160 was requested from my client and they said now to credit card info. The hard sell kicked up a notch and that is when my client realized they had remote access (mouse movement). My client was at least smart at that point for I have always said regarding malware, hacking, etc, when in doubt, turn it off! They turned off their PC and called me at that point. (NOTE: Of course, this is RED FLAG #4, requesting credit card info.)

5) Enjoy their ill gotten gains while doing nothing, but, at best, install unnecessary programs to make their case to the credit card company that they provided true services to you. At worst, they actually install serious malware and attempt to continue the attack to full identity theft!

Do not be a victim! Please, understand nobody can figure out your phone number from your modem's IP address. Well, at least not directly. They would have had to have hacked your ISP to get such info.

Please, remember all the RED FLAGS, especially #1. They are opening up with a mega-huge bull turd of a lie. Know about this and hang up immediately.

I have contacted the company which provides TeamViewer and I hope to convince them to put warnings on the download reminding people to not download it on advice of a stranger.

Be safe, be smart and be aware!

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