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Guest Column

Beware of "Windows Tech Support" Scam

Jim Madden, New Providence Borough Councilman

Saturday, August 2, 2014 • 3:11pm

I wanted to bring to your attention a growing phone scan that has become highly prevalent over recent weeks.  Anonymous phone  calls coming into homes that on the surface appear legitimate, calls to assist you with your computer, however troubling in the fact that their objective is not to actually provide "tech support" but who's real mission is to compromise your personal information and steal your identity.

Over the past few weeks, our own home has received no fewer than 10 of these calls.  Let me share with you the details of the disguise and dialogue.  The caller has a "far eastern" accent and the caller does not identify themselves by name, nor mentions the dialed party by name.  It is quite obvious that they are calling from random telephone number listings as they've called both my published home number as well as my business and fax line in our home office in succession.  The caller ID provides "private caller/private number" although on one occasion, the caller ID passed along just 5 digits.

"Yes, I'm calling form Windows tech support, and I call to alert you to virus that infected your computer in the house.  We are here to help remove virus and fix computers, OK ?"

So I play along to get more information and ask how they can help.

"Yes, we help remove virus and credit card we have in file expire.  We need a credit card number to continue and fix computer"

I ask the caller who they work for and he becomes argumentative.

"I said already I from Windows tech support, you know Windows right? It the operating system that has virus we found on your computer.  We here to help fix all computer"

I won't bore you with the rest of the call, but my point in sharing this is to alert residents to these unscrupulous attempts not to fix your computer, but separate you from your money.

So please exercise caution when any phone call, or email is asking you to verify your identity.  These may be the random scamming phone calls to fix your computers as I've shared above, or from someone claiming to be from PayPal or a bank, or a "phishing" email that appears authentic with a corporate logo asking you to verify your account information.   These thieves are getting smarter everyday, their disguises and the lengths they'll go to steal your identity or hack into your accounts is relentless and growing.

If you receive a call that sounds suspicious along these lines, write down the phone number if one appears and contact the police to report it.   Please be cautious and share this advisory with your friends and family members.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TheAlternativePress.com or anyone who works for TheAlternativePress.com. TheAlternativePress.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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