The funniest movie clip I've ever seen, is in the dramatization of Alexander Graham Bell's life. Good old Alex is at home and receives a call from a stranger offering him a subscription to a local newspaper. He throws the phone across the room in disgust. I'm sure there was a bit of director's creativity within that scene, but it's an impulse I've had on multiple occasions when my quiet humble abode was disturbed by such calls. If only there was a way to minimize these annoying calls. Well now there is. By adding your phone number to the "Do Not Call" registry.
You can do this by following the links below:
Canada registry: https://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/insnum-regnum-eng
US Registry : http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/register.shtml
These, of course, are insignificant disturbances compared to what I will be speaking of today.
In the last few months, I have encountered 2 people within my social circle who have been contacted by phone scam organizations. One of these contacts was within the last couple of weeks, which leads me to believe that this particular phone scam is still alive and well.
Here is the scenario. An individual calls masquerading as a Microsoft representative. They state that your PC may have a problem. In both instances that I have heard recounted, these so-called specialists had a tough time speaking English. This would be your first warning bell. They get you to go through a few technical steps in order to prove that this is so. Essentially, they get you to display the Windows error log, which will indeed have errors in it. Or, at least, what may look like errors to the untrained eye. They then instruct the unsuspecting victim to go to their web site to give them access to their PC.
This is your second warning bell. Actually, it should be an all out blaring house alarm with a crowd of people in the background yelling: "don't do it!!! Don't do it!!!" Well, you get the picture.
Having followed their instructions, you have given permission for these perpetrators to access all of your files and folders. Sounds scary doesn't it? This could lead to username and password hacks, PC zombiing and at worse identity theft. What's PC zombiing? Well, it's when a little program gets installed on your PC in order to quietly conduct malicious tasks via remote direction. You can find more about PC zombies here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zombie_(computer_science)
As for identity theft, let me just say right here and now that you never want your identity to be stolen. It takes a long time to rectify the mess.
I would suggest visiting this link to find out more about it:
A few tips:
Let me point out a few things here. First, was your computer working properly before the call? If it was, then you definitely know that this was a scam. If it wasn't, then you still know that this was a scam, because there is no reason for any company to give you a call on the premise that your computer is broken and they somehow have figured this out for you. It would be like having a shady guy, carrying a rusty-looking toolbox, walk up to you in a parking lot and telling you that there's something wrong with your car. He could fix it for you on the spot only if you give him your credit card number. Would you trust this fellow? I'm sure you'd jump in your car and drive away pretty quickly. The same goes for phone scams. If you're ever caught on the phone with something that makes you hesitate, you do have the right to end the call. Don't feel pressured into doing anything they say.
The best course of action is to hang up and report the call to your local authorities.
For more information on various types of phone scams, follow this link: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/index.shtml
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