I don’t know how international this is but considering that the two voices I’ve heard on the phone have been Asian and oriental, then it has to extend beyond one country.
The pattern is generally of someone phoning you up, knowing your name, saying they belong to ‘Windows’ and that you haven’t received proper updates in the past few weeks. They then want you to boot-up or go to your computer and follow their instructions. I didn’t let it go further than that, mostly because I was alert to two things.
Microsoft has many million users of Windows. Can you honestly see them ringing every user to pass them a message? They might be rich but if there was a problem of that magnitude, then they would use news channels, MSN website or even email, NOT ring up people. The fact that they said they were from ‘Windows’ NOT ‘Microsoft’ should be enough of a warning let alone following some guidelines that could ultimately end up giving them access to your computer. For the record, I did check with Microsoft the next day and they agree it’s a phone fraud. Quite why they haven’t extended the warnings to other people outside of people contacting them, I don’t know and this is the reason for this article.
The problem and, which is why I’m writing about it here, is this kind of con to persist then they must be having some sort of success rate. Anti-virus software should protect you from viral attacks but not if you give them code access to your computer although I don’t think that is the intention and unless you keep your passwords in a DOC file, I doubt if they would be interested in. However, through your computer, they can probably monitor your Net movements and access accounts you’ve opened or even into your community chatpoints like Facebook. If you’ve opened a website to buy something, unlike your bank account which turns off after a set time, the other places won’t. Without a change in the exterior access control link code, you’re basically locking yourself out of the Internet if you use it as a spambot would obviously be looking out for you.
Anyway, that’s the warning over, let’s get to the meat of the article. The level of authority that can hit the gullibility. It’s very easy to acquire control over other people. Wear a laboratory white coat and people would think of you as either a doctor or scientist and gives you a level of authority. In a similar way, someone telling you over the phone that they represent a company and know you have their product can have a similar effect. They would have to be unlikely to find someone who solely has an Apple computer, so it gets a conversation point to draw you in. All vital signs of a con!
It is the level of authority that can convince people, although it can be applied to anything that they find a connection into your life. It isn’t just children that you should warn to be wary of strangers. It applies to adults as well. Respect to authority or even people who say they know something about you know can be instrumental in your upbringing. The fact that it can be abused shows a vulnerable weak point in your psyche.
I can hardly turn around and say totally ignore all such approaches. After all, if you take some elements of authority as supercilious, you could get carried away with how much you can get away with. However, I trust you are all sensible enough to know the difference between a fake and the real thing if it comes to your door, especially if it’s the police.
My best solution is really to question any phone call or how they would know such things about you, especially if they are common. If they are who they say they are, then tell don’t to email you but DON’T give them your email address because they should know it. If you think they’re working off a script, the first thing you should say is ‘Why?’ I use that one a lot as it totally throws telephone sales reps to break them off their patter so would likely confuse these organised con jobs as well. Don’t forget to email the proper company, not through any information they might give you, afterwards if for no other reason to remind them someone is using their name for a con and give them as much information as possible.
The best way to beat gullibility is to think first before responding to anything. Being on your toes isn’t difficult. Being Science Fiction fans, we think on our feet anyway. We should be incapable of being conned that way. I hope. If not, then at least you know a little about the way I tackled them. Be careful if someone picks you out and thinks you’re special when they know nothing about you than lucky guesses.
© GF Willmetts 2013