Avoiding the Scam

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    by Bill Howard
    Manager of IT Services

    In the ever-evolving world of technology, scammers are always looking for a way to get your money. I was recently reminded of the following quote: “Just because I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean that they aren’t after me.” This is a statement that I think that everyone should think about just a little. After all, we all tend to get relaxed in our environment.

    There are many internet connected scams that have been circulating for years. We have seen several come in the form of an email, a popup message, or even a phone call to your home or cell phone. Most have not changed much, but many people continue to fall for these scams.

    One scam in particular works the same no matter the method of communication. The scammer’s story is that your computer is being reported as infected with a virus. They claim to be “Microsoft Certified” support, in an attempt to trick you to believe that Microsoft is calling you or that the phone number presented in the popup is a Microsoft support line. Please be aware that Microsoft will not contact you out of the blue. A Microsoft support incident is something that has to be initiated by you, costs a lot more than the scammers ask, and you would be getting real help. The scammer will try very hard to prove that your computer is indeed the computer in question. If you are skeptical, they will ask you to type commands on your computer that will supposedly report back an identification number for your computer. The number is very long, random and unique. Resist the urge!! In reality, this number is listed the same on every computer in the world using Windows. The scammer’s goal is to obtain remote access to your computer. Once they are in, they will install back door ways to get into your computer with complete access to everything there.

    I urge anyone reading this to complete a little research on your own to familiarize yourself with how to recognize online scams. You can get more detail about how this particular scam works by Googling “Ammyy scam”. Please be aware that Ammyy is a legitimate remote access program, but has been exploited by the scammers directing victims to a website with a similar name.

    For your best protection, you should keep an active subscription to a reputable Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware application. You should be aware of how your program works and how it alerts you to danger. By knowing what your real software looks like, you can easily recognize fake alerts. Please be aware that even though these scams should be stopped by your Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware, some will still make their way through.

    Please remember these three things:

    1. Know your protection software.
    2. Microsoft is not going to call you.
    3. Do not permit remote access to your computer unless you’re sure it’s safe.

    With all the scams constantly circulating, maybe a little paranoia is necessary. If you have fallen victim to this scam, we would like to hear about it. Please call us at Sunrise Technology Systems 937-610-7780.