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Neil Barrett

Keeping Your New Computer Safe

The Steadfast Tin Soldier ...

Posted on: 28/01/2013   By: Neil Barrett

In the story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, the one legged soldier was part of a treasured set received one Christmas, ends up out on the street despite his love for the ballerina who is also stood on one leg. They get washed away in the canal and finally end up burning in the fire together ...

you always need to be on your guard and be ready to stand up to the scammers

you always need to be on your guard and be ready to stand up to the scammers

So many of us get new gadgets and computers at Christmas and in the excitement and hustle and bustle can forget the little things we need to do to protect ourselves. Now what does this have to do with your new computer? Well, I thought I would take the opportunity in this month's blog to talk about a scam we first notified our clients about back at the end of 2009, but is still affecting people in 2013.

It basically involves the target receiving a telephone call. The caller claims to be from Microsoft and is calling because he or she believes your computer may be infected with a virus. They try to convince you that they can fix it quickly and easily if you give them access to your machine. Once they have access they may attempt to download malicious software onto your computer that could catch sensitive data like bank details and credit card numbers which will be transmitted back to them at a future time.

They may simply adjust settings to make your machine vulnerable so they can call back in a few weeks time when your machine is genuinely infected! Or the most brazen ones simply ask for your credit card details or divert you to a site where you enter your credit card details so you can pay for their phoney services.

These scammers mainly target domestic users by going through online phonebooks. Please be aware that this is going on and don't think that it is just the elderly or naive that are going to be duped by these people; the latest incident we have dealt with was an intelligent couple who I would consider to be pretty net savvy. So please warn your friends, relatives and family that this is going on.

Tips to avoid telephone tech support scams:

  1. If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you, do not purchase any software or services. If there is a fee associated with the "service" hang-up the phone.

  2. Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.

  3. Ask for the caller's information, in most cases the caller will hang up, but if they do give you any information immediately pass it to the authorities.

  4. Never give credit card information or passwords to anyone who called you rather than you calling them i.e. you cannot verify they represent the company they claim to be from.

If you have inadvertently been caught out then follow the steps below to ensure your information has not been compromised:

  1. Switch your machine off, or disconnect it from the Internet so that no information can be transmitted to the scammers.

  2. Call us. We can check to see whether your machine has been infected and clean it up accordingly.

  3. If we confirm you have been infected, change your passwords for online services especially banking and credit card accounts.

We hope that if you follow this advice you won't get your fingers burned or your new computer damaged by these scammers. If you are not sure who you are talking to - and you haven't asked them to call - then please do not hesitate to hang up; it will be the safest thing to do!

Until next time ...


More about Neil Barrett ...


I have always worked in the IT industry both for in-house IT departments and outsourcing companies. My first position was for a large managed services provider in Coventry, based full-time on a customer site in Northamptonshire. It was during this assignment I was exposed for the first time to the UNIX & Linux operating systems which I still enjoy looking after today. By the time I left there I was running the Department and went on to head up the IT department of the distribution arm of a manufacturing company on the Warwickshire / Northamptonshire border.

Although the position was well paid and had great benefits, it wasnt particularly challenging and that's when I set up my own business. Keba was born. It was about nine months later in the summer of 2002 that that I decided to do it full-time and never looked back.


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