3 things to think about before you’re scammed

It’s easy to say ‘just hang up’ when you get a phone call from a company or a person saying there’s a problem with your computer. It may be that you are having problems and here’s someone who can help, or you’re being given a sales pitch which sounds inviting. Here are three things to think about before you’re scammed.

  1. How did the person get your number?

Your phone has probably been generated randomly by the person calling you. Even if you have caller display, the caller’s number can be ‘spoofed’ and can appear to be from the UK. If the caller really wants to speak to you, they’ll leave a message.

  1. So long as you have up-to-date internet security on your computer, it is very unlikely that anyone can ‘know’ what state your computer is in.

Computers running Windows 10 are much safer than ever before, but additional internet security is always a good idea. Apple users are the safest online users. But never be complacent.

Unless you’ve ignored warnings from your computer to stay away from a website you’ve come across or you’ve ignored warnings about downloading new software from the internet, it is very unlikely you’ll be tracked by a potential scammer. Windows 10 and Apple OS will automatically update its own software and the apps you have installed. If you’re unsure of requests to update, then decline the request.

  1. Unless you give explicit permission, it is virtually impossible for anyone to access your computer.

Computers are designed to be accessed remotely. In other words, someone can look at your computer from down the street or from the other side of the world and see what you’re doing, if you need help. I have worked with customers remotely, but only with their permission. You have to give explicit permission for this to happen, usually by giving them an access code and sometimes a temporary password. If you’ve followed the advice in step 2, the person will have to ask for the code. And hopefully, alarm bells will be ringing if you’ve got to this stage. Don’t be frightened to end the call at any time.

So ‘just hang up’ is good advice and I know lots of people who do just that, usually because they’re annoyed at being interrupted in the first place. Some folk even reply saying something that’s probably not repeatable here. So stick to that and be assured if you’ve followed steps 2 and 3 that only you can see what’s happening on your computer. And if you do need help, give us a bell.