There’s new twist on tech support scam

You’re browsing the internet when suddenly your computer displays a blue screen and you hear a voice blaring through your speakers. The voice claims to be from Microsoft and instructs you not to shut down your computer. You are instructed to call the number on your screen. Welcome to the Tech Support Scam.
If you do call the number on your screen and speak to the so-called Microsoft technician, you’ll be told they detected a virus or malware installed on your computer. They offer to ‘help you’ diagnose the problem for free and then offer to remotely eradicate it, for only a $250 fee. You may also be suckered into purchasing a monthly protection service.
To gain your trust, they suggest another alternative. You could instead bring your computer to your local repair shop and be without it for several days. But they already know you don’t want to be without your computer for that long. So, you reluctantly give them your credit card info and a few hours later, the blue screen is gone.
Four things just happened. 1.) You paid $250 to fix a computer that had nothing wrong with it. 2.) You gave this imposter your credit card info. 3.) You gave this imposter complete access to all your computer files. 4.) The imposter now has actually installed a real Malware program onto your computer. That Malware program gives him the capability to read your keystrokes and use your computer as a “bot.” Your computer has become his personal tool to spread more Malware to everyone in your address book.
So how did that blue screen get on your computer in the first place? Well maybe it was hidden in some free software you downloaded. You may have innocently clicked an ad on a legitimate website that had a “cloaker” program hidden inside of it.
Perhaps you landed on a bogus website by misspelling the website name. The website looks legit, but you will be redirected to a tech support scam website.
There are approximately 9,000 domain names that are known to be affiliated with tech support scams on the Web. Luring people onto their sites with popups or fake domain names is how it all starts. Unfortunately, as soon as one of these sites are shut down, another one comes along to take its place.
Be careful what you click on and be careful when typing a website address. Four out of five Americans reported being contacted by tech support imposters — with one third of them victimized by this scam. Now, you know how to avoid being one of them!
Linda Vitale is a Surprise resident on a mission to educate the public about ID Theft. Read her blog and get her book “Scam Me Once, Can’t Get Scammed Again” at www.prevent-idtheft.com.

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