What Traders Should Know About Direct Phone Call Scams Regarding Software

If you operate a computer, you need a defense system. Having an anti-virus program is good start.  You can protect your trading computer against malicious software.

Your anti-virus system is only one line defense. A second defense is your gut instinct. Your gut instinct can protect you against direct phone call scams about your computer’s software. These scams are an attempt to gain access to your computer and personal info.

That is how the scammers try and pull you in, by making you believe you have a problem, when you actually don’t.

How a Direct Phone Scam About Computer Software Gets Your Attention

The call generally starts by informing you that they are calling from a company’s tech support line and have located a problem.

Here’s an example introduction you might here:

Caller: “Good Morning. This is Brenda from Microsoft Security. I am calling to inform you that we have noticed that your computer is not receiving security updates and we are going to have to  suspend your copy of Windows until this is resolved.

In each case the con relies upon the trust built by the name recognition and the experience level of the target of the scam.


When a Phone Scam Can Result in Access to Your Trader Computer & Identity Theft

Not only is the caller trying to gain access to your computer, but they also want access to your wallet.

Here is an example of a Scammer trying to lead the user to give out their personal info:

Caller: You should see me moving your mouse pointer around. I will make some final changes and you will be all set up.”

You: “Yes, I see you moving the mouse and making changes.”

Caller: “I see another problem. You have an illegal copy of Windows. I will have to immediately deactivate your computer unless you buy a license right now while I am on the phone with you.”

You: “I have my Visa card here….let me give you the number.”

Caller: “I will also need some personal information to verify your account. I cannot just take your word that you are using a valid credit card since you were also running an unlicensed illegal  copy of Windows….”

How to Protect your Trader Computer and Personal Information

Trust but verify – first check the caller ID. Caller ID is easy to fake but some criminals are lazy and may not bother to make it look like they are calling from the company they claim to be calling from.

Large Software Companies Do Not Call You Remember that Microsoft, Apple, and the other large companies will never call you out of the blue. They have hundreds of millions of computers that use their software and they do not provide unrequested tech support. If you get a call from them – hang up immediately.

Trust your instincts – Never allow anyone to access your computer remotely unless you are dealing as a customer with their support team on a call that you initiated. If they ask for any type of payments for services they intend to render or claim you have to act now or something catastrophic will happen – hang up immediately.

Try and put them on the spotAsk for a number so you can call them back in an hour or ask them to put a supervisor on the line. Ask them for their mailing address, email address, how they got your number, etc. Most conmen hang up when pressed for more information and move on to easier targets that are more compliant.


What Steps To Take If You Are A Computer Software Scam Victim

  • Do not reboot or power down your system but immediately remove your computer from the network. Pull out the Ethernet cable or unplug your router.
  • Immediately scan your computer with your AV and anti-malware programs.
  • Change all the user account passwords on your computer.
  • Log in from a different computer and change all online passwords for all of your financial and personal accounts.
  • Try and undo the damage they created by following the same steps they had you go through and turn off what they had you turn on.
  • Make sure there are no rogue user accounts or guest accounts active or enabled on your computer.
  • Disable any connections listed in the Remote App and Desktop Connection Control Panel.
  • As a last resort – completely reformat your hard drive and reinstall your OS and programs from your backups made prior to the event.

Traders, have good defensive systems at all times. Listen to your gut. These unsavory calls are usually from a seemingly real and well-known company offering to fix a problem that you may not be aware you had – such as an unregistered version of Windows or out of date software.

If you’ve gotten one of these calls, and your gut tells something is off, you’re probably right. Your first red flag should be when you hear the phrase, “I want to help you with a problem you may not be aware you had.”