Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #503 5/27/2020

Question: Should I call the number that popped up on my screen about a problem?


If you get a message that pops up on your screen saying your computer has a problem and to call that number, DO NOT. These are scams.

Most likely you do not have any problem with your computer. Unless you have given someone or some company access to your computer they will not know if you are having a problem watching it as they cannot. These appear sometimes from you typing a bad link that is infected.

Likewise, if you get a phone call and they tell you that you are having a problem with your computer and they are calling to fix it, hang-up. They have not been in your computer; they have just randomly called you. Think. You may not even have the computer turned on.

These are scams that often operate out of India. They will tell you they then need access to your computer to fix it and tell you to enable things like Remote Desktop, which will allow them in your computer. They may look in your data for credit card numbers, etc., or they may install viruses and malware on your computer to be able to steal info later. They will charge you to do this.

Some of them then if you do not pay them again will threaten to send a bill collector to collect a large fee for repairs.

Microsoft and other reputable companies will not call you and want access to your computer and passwords. Sometimes these scammers will make it appear in the message on screen or in the phone call they are Microsoft or another reputable company.

If you do pay them call your bank or credit card company as soon as possible to stop the charges. If you did let them in your machine contact a computer pro, such as me or many others, explain what they did and we can turn off the program they used to get in to stop them in the future.

If you do not have a current anti-virus program on your machine you need one. I personally use the free version of AVAST at avast.com There are other good ones out there including Norton, AVG, Malwarebyes. And Webroot. Some are free and some cost. A computer pro can recommend good and tell you bad ones. I also use superantispyware to keep my machine clean of spyware. It is free at superantispyware.com (a similar named program, but different company superantivirus is a bad program and will mess up your machine.

If you get that call about problems with your machine or see a message on your machine saying problems and call this number, the simple answer is NO. Hang-up or close that window.

Thanks, Carl, for the article idea.