Tuesday, November 11, 2014

That fake 'Miscrosoft' support call

This scam is still going on - I recently got another call telling me they were from Microsoft and my computer was showing errors.  Eventually I got bored and told them to 'go away' but there are still a lot of people out there who are being taken in by this and giving away lots of money!

The way it works is that someone (usually from India) calls and says they've detected errors on your PC.  They then, typically, get you to run a few programs, like event viewer, which 'proves' that there are really bad things going on.  

Be aware that even if Microsoft were monitoring your computer on the internet, they don't get much information to identify you - certainly not your name or phone number!

They'll then get you to allow them access to your computer using 'ammyy' or 'teamviewer', generally, and from then on anything could happen - even to the extent that they really DO corrupt your computer, deleting important files.

Please don't get taken in!

Have a look at https://blog.malwarebytes.org/tech-support-scams/ and for a few examples of what happens, have a look on youtube and search for 'fake microsoft support call'.  Some of them are quite entertaining!

Spam, spam, spam, spam…

A common question is, “how do I stop spam emails?”.  Sadly, the answer is, “You can’t!”, but you can still do something about it!

You can’t block the email address it comes from because spammers keep changing that!  Chances are every spam email comes from a different address, and they can even pretend they’re coming from someone you know.

Your only hope is to use a spam filter.  Gmail already has one that’s pretty good and even if you don’t use Gmail, you can set things up so that it filters your existing account.
What you'd do is register for a (free) gmail account and then arrange that the gmail account collects your email from your normal provider.  In doing so Gmail's filters come into action.  You then arrange that you use your new Gmail account to either view the email online or download it to your favourite email program (eg. Thunderbird).

As an alternative and to keep things under your own control, check out spamihilator, a free program which learns what is spam and keeps it away.  It takes a while to train it as to what is spam and what isn't but gives lots of control, allowing you to set up 'friends' whose emails will never be blocked.  This, of course, only works if you're downloading email to your computer from a POP3 server.

Get in touch if you need help with any of these solutions.