Computer Scam Warning
The internet is a well established network that has become a invaluable element of our daily lives. As much convenience as it brings, there are also risks. Scams are everywhere, and the internet is the ideal place for criminals and thieves, or “hackers” as they are referred to, to rob or abuse an unsuspecting victim.
In the last few weeks one scam in particular have been seen multiple times in Rustenburg. According to information received a technician from Matrix Warehouse in Rustenburg allegedly said that there were 4 occurrences of the same scam that they know of in just one week.
It all starts with a phone call from a person that claims to be from Microsoft that has detected that your windows operating system are experiencing some sort of malfunction, or that there are multiple corrupt files on your computer. Some victims also reported that the scam artist claims that your computer have been infected with a virus. The irony of the matter is that they intend to plant a virus themselves. They will try to gain access to your computer in order to take it over and abuse your programs to get hold of vital information like your bank details.
They will also say that your Microsoft Windows licence has expired and that you need to purchase a new one. Some of the options they gave one of the victims was 167 for 1 year, 267 for 3 years and 367 for a lifelong licence. They do not mention the currency. This is incorrect as when you purchase Microsoft Windows, you receive a serial key, that serial key is used as a registration with Microsoft and grants you a lifelong usage license limited to one or multiple computers depending on your package. In some occurrences these scam artists or ‘hackers’ will try to threaten you by saying that they will call the police. They can also try to force you into filling out a form.
According to information gathered from a Microsoft source “Microsoft will never cold call people who use Windows”. Never allow strangers to take over your computer. If you do not know the person or you are not sure that they are who they say they are, tell them that you will phone Microsoft or the company directly and handle the situation on your own. These scam artist make it sound like they are legitimate representatives from the company so be very careful when it comes to phone calls or emails like this. Treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism. Do not provide any personal information.
Here are some things to look out for that may alert you of scams:
- Poor grammar and language use in ‘official’ e-mails or letters.
- No financial institution will email you and ask you to input all of your sensitive information.
- The scam artist will try and gain access or control to your computer.
- Claims that you have won a competition that you have never even heard of.
If you ever find yourself in a situation like this, hang up the phone immediately and do not give the matter anymore unnecessary attention. These people are very cleaver in the way that they work and tend to sound legitimate. Rather hang up the phone and call an official number of the organisation to confirm.