Tell Mel: Computer help could be a scam – The News-Press
Letâs say you are having trouble with your accounting software. What do you do? Turn to GoogleÂ of course, and enter: “Quickbooks Help” or âQuickbook Support.âÂ The results you get may look like legitimate sites. But a Fort Myers computer expert warns they may not be.
âScammers are gaming the system for placement. They set up fake companies and come up in the top onÂ searches, even ahead of the actual company website,â said David Keller, owner of Compu-Doctor.
Keller said he noticed this scam trending last fall. But it wasn’t until recently whenÂ two people he knew â one client and one friend â got burned by clicking on one of these fake sites when they needed help with their computer programs.
Once youâve contactedÂ a scam site thereâs no telling what can happen, but it will be bad. Under the guise of helping you solve your problem, the fake techniciansÂ will remotely take over your computer. When they do that, they can plant malwareÂ or leave a âback doorâ open so they can get in later, Keller said, giving them access to bank or credit card accounts and anything else you may have on your computer.
This same scam can come in with pop-up ads, Keller said. A notification will appear on your computer screenÂ alerting you to a virus or system failure and directing you to call a number.
It is sometimes hard to tell youâre not really talking to the software vendorâs actual support team, Keller said. Some people are suspicious when they hear a foreign accent on a help line, but that’s not a good way to tell because many companies outsource tech supportÂ to other countries. But there are a few things you should do to avoid getting scammed:
I often get emails from readers with a copy of an email theyâve received. They may suspect it’s a scam or they want to know if it is.Â The email almost always includes a hyperlink or attachment to download.Â If you think of doing this, Iâve got to tell you, I’m not going to click on a link or download anything from a random email. And neither should you.
That said, I did get a few emails that I think I should warn people about:
IRS refundÂ email
The email subject line on this one is “Your tax-back has arrived!” That should be your first tip-off of a scam. The grammar and word usage mayÂ be odd when itâs coming from a writer in a foreign country. What American would call a refund a “tax-back?”
The next reason you know this is a scam? The IRS is not going to notify you of a refund via email. When you are due a refund the IRS will depositÂ the money directly to the bank account number you provided or it will send a check. It will not ask you to download an attached form the way this email does.
The name on this email reads Internal Revenue Service, but take a look at the email address. It does not end in “irs.gov.” The ones Iâve seen are all linked to email servers in foreign countries. And no matter what youâve heard or read about employee cutbacks at the IRS, the government is not hiring workers in Eastern Europe and Africa to contact U.S. taxpayers about their refunds.
Oil Pension Checks
An email about investments in “oil pension” companies was forwarded by a reader who asked, “Is this a scam?” It wasnât clear if he was referring to the email, the investment vehicle or both. But I think the latter may be the case.
The email highlighted the income of three investors. “Timothy who is on track to collect an average of nearly $1,785 a month,” “Perry (who) has been getting $20,331.13 a month” and “John” who is being paid “a stunning average of $25,598 a month” benefits of the “Oil Pension Check Program.” All the reader would have to do is click a link.
I didnât click the link. So I donât know if it went to a legitimate site or if by doing so it would have loaded malware onto my computer. Again, I would advise you not to click on any link, especially from an email source you donât know.
As for the investment in oil pension companies, I donât know anything about that. But I do know that if I received an investment opportunityÂ in an unsolicited email, my next move would be to hit the delete key.
Contact:Â TellMel@news-press.com; (239)344-4772; 2442 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33901.Â facebook.com/TellMel and Twitter @tellmelÂ Sign up for the Tell Mel newsletter at news-press.com/newsletters