Security Market Segment LS
Monday, 19 September 2011 11:16

The "I'm From Microsoft, I'm calling to fix your computer" scam moves to Tasmania


There seems to be no stopping the scam artists as they move from state to state attempting to extort money from naive computer users.

On Saturday, Tasmanian Minister for Consumer Protection, Nick McKim, warned Tasmanians about a computer virus scam, whereby home users were being telephoned randomly with the news that their computers were infected with a virus.

"The scammer will say they require remote access to a person's computer to remove the virus," Mr McKim said.  "If you give the scammer access to your computer you will end up paying for an unnecessary service and risk the security of your personal and financial details," he continued.

"Scammers are persistent, with some consumers receiving multiple calls in one evening or calls several nights in a row," Mr McKim said.

"Recently several variations of the scam have emerged and in some cases the caller claims to be from Telstra, while other times they may try to sell antivirus software for which they require banking details or credit card number."

Minister McKim cautioned consumers to take steps to protect themselves from scammers.

Mr McKim cautioned consumers to take the following steps to protect themselves from scammers:

'¢    If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone about your computer system's security status, hang up.
'¢    Never give a stranger remote access to your computer.
'¢    Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
'¢    Make sure your computer is protected with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall - but only purchase the software from a source that you know and trust.
'¢    If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Unfortunately, there is nothing new in this scam; it has being going on for at least 18 months to this writer's knowledge, however previously calls seem to have largely focused on Sydney and Melbourne.

Despite the longevity of this particular scam, Minister McKim's advice is still salient, as are the suggestions from the articles linked above.  And if you suspect a fraud has been perpetrated upon yourself, or you have useful information related to this scam, call the Police via the Crime Stoppers line on 1300 333 000.


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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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