There has been a spike in the number of remote access scams where customers have received a computer pop-up notification impersonating Microsoft or other computer software companies.
A rise in this type of scam is where customers receive a pop-up notification that is attempting to persuade you that your computer has an issue like an internet problem or a software update issue.
The scam will then often prompt you to allow access to their ‘technician’ so that they can fix the matter.
- You receive a phone call or computer pop-up out of the blue and the caller/notification claims to be from a large telecommunications or computer company, or a technical support service provider.
- They tell you that your computer is experiencing technical problems and they need remote access to sort out the problem.
- They ask you to buy software or sign up to a service to fix the computer.
- They ask for your personal details and your bank or credit card details.
- The caller is very persistent and may become abusive.
How to protect yourself
- Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
- Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone or by clicking a link, unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
- If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested – hang up– even if they mention a well-known company such as Telstra or Microsoft. These companies do not request access or credit card details over the phone to fix computer or telephone problems and are not affiliated with any companies that do.
- If you think the communication may have been legitimate, independently source the contact details for the organisation to contact them. Don’t use the contact details in the communication. Also, don’t click on any of the links.
- If you think that your computer performance is being affected by a pop-up notification, firstly close the browser you are using. If the notification is still present or you cannot shut down your computer, press “control, alt & delete” all at the same time to open your task manager. From here select your browser and select “end task”.
- If you think that somebody is accessing your computer, shut it down and turn it off until you can get your device to a local computer technician for investigation and, if necessary, removal of unwanted programs.
If you think you have been scammed or that you have given your account or bank details away to a sketchy source, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. Reporting scams to the ACCC is also an important step in tackling this issue. If you believe a page could be a scam page, report it to the ACCC. The ACCC website also provides great resources to help the public better understand current scams and where to get help – https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/