6 December 2018: Newsletter

The Winter 2018 edition of the PC Assist Newsletter is now available - click here to view
5 December 2018: Scams

Over the last few weeks there has been a lot more scams reported to me than usual, so please be aware

Recent scams:-


If you are unsure that an email you have received is genuine or not then please feel free to forward it on to me and I will check for you and advise further. The same goes with phone calls, if you get a strange call then hang up, email me full details and I will let you know if it is a known scam or not
16 November 2018: Telephone Scam

PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS SCAM

You receive a phone call normally from an international or withheld phone number, but occasionally this can appear as if it is from a local number

They use various different names to identify themselves (such as Microsoft Windows Support, Windows Technical Department, Windows Helpdesk, Microsoft Tech Support or Windows Service Centre) and usually say that they are working on behalf of Microsoft or sometimes other companies such as BT, Openreach or TalkTalk

My customers have encountered several different variations of this scam:-

1) They ask you to open a program on your computer called Event Viewer and then try to tell you that the errors and warnings that appear means your computer is unprotected or has a serious problem that needs fixing. What they tell you is incorrect, even a fully working computer has some errors and warnings shown here and this is quite normal and does NOT indicate you have a problem

2) They state that there is a problem with some software on your computer

3) They tell you that Microsoft will cancel your Windows licence as your computer has been used by other people for illegal activity, they then proceed to give you a very long number which they say is your new Microsoft licence

4) They offer to help you upgrade your computer to Windows 10 or fix problems with Windows 10

5) They tell you that your IP address is compromised and has been used in various different countries

With nearly all the variations of the scam they then ask to connect to your computer saying they will fix the problems for you - at this point they can access any personal information you have on your computer such as bank details, infect your system with viruses and lock your system so you cannot gain access - they then demand money to unlock your computer and to fix the problems

They are very persistent and several customers have reported getting multiple calls from them

DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE YOU DON'T KNOW TO CONNECT TO YOUR COMPUTER OR GIVE OUT BANK/CREDIT CARD DETAILS - THIS IS A SCAM

More information from Microsoft on this scam can be found here

If you get targeted by these criminals you can report it to ActionFraud by clicking here
12 October 2018: Pop-Up Message Scam

PLEASE BE AWARE OF THIS SCAM

This is very similar to the telephone scam mentioned above - but this time instead of a phone call it starts with a pop-up message appearing on a webpage you are visiting

These fake pop-up message often appear to look like some sort of warning or alert message indicating you have a problem with your computer - they often appear down the bottom right corner of your screen to make them appear just like a standard alert from Windows 10 or your security software - occasionally they fill the whole screen, and in several instances have an audible warning message which keeps repeating

The pop-up message usually asks you to call a phone number to receive free support, once you call this number you are often connected to an expensive premium rate number. They will then use the same tricks as the above phone scam to make you think you have a problem which they will then offer to fix, once they have fixed an error that never existed they will demand credit card details. If you refuse to pay they then lock your system, or infect it with viruses

DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE YOU DON'T KNOW TO CONNECT TO YOUR COMPUTER OR GIVE OUT BANK/CREDIT CARD DETAILS - THIS IS A SCAM
25 September 2018: Windows 10 October 2018 Update

The next major update to Windows 10 called "October 2018 Update" is due to be released on the 9th October 2018

This update will be free for all Windows 10 users and will automatically download and install – it is being released in waves so not everyone will receive it immediately but you will eventually get it in the days/weeks/months after release

An overview of the changes in this version can be found on my website here
20 June 2018: Computer Support Scam Follow Up Calls

It has recently been reported that scammers are returning to contact customers who were previously victims of computer support scams

They are calling previous victims requesting that they pay money owed for a fake malware protection service they had provided, or asking for a new subscription fee in return for protection from a new threat

In some instances threatening and aggressive language has been used against victims, as part of the attempt to coerce them into sending money

These types of scam are classed as Computer Software Service Fraud, and involve the victim being contacted, told that there is a problem with their computer, and that for a fee this issue can be resolved. The aim of the fraudster at this point is usually to gain remote access to the victim’s computer and, subsequently, access to their online banking account. No fix actually occurs. The victims will often be cold-called or will receive a pop-up on their computer, prompting them to phone the suspect
7 July 2017: Social Media and Identity Fraud

Fraudsters need just three pieces of personal information to steal your identity, most of which can be found on your Facebook profile

All it takes is your name, date of birth and address for fraudsters to be able to steal your identity and access your bank accounts, take out loans or take out mobile phones in your name

A high proportion of social media users risk identity theft by giving fraudsters easy access to this type of personal information, as they include their full name and date of birth on their profile pages

Even if you don’t publicly show your age on your Facebook profile, fraudsters can still work out your age from people wishing you well on your timeline. Once they have your date of birth, they can find out where you live too

Also remember that photos you post online also contain sensitive information, photos taken using a modern smartphone (and many digital cameras) embed GPS location information in them and using this information it is easy to work out where the photo was taken - so an innocent photo of you in your back garden can easily be used to work out your exact location

Fraudsters that get hold of this type of information can impersonate an individual, either by setting up accounts in their name or accessing existing accounts and stealing from them. The extent of damage can run to thousands of pounds worth of debt being racked up in your name

My advice is to be social savvy - avoid unnecessarily sharing personal details and risking your identity on platforms that can so easily be exploited