They were the first words this lady said to me when she brought her computer in to our store after falling victim to a Telstra scam. And sadly, its a very common response.
Here’s why you shouldn’t feel stupid if you have been a victim of a phone call scam
They are VERY convincing.
They say all the right things. They have the same Indian accents that you would hear if you were actually speaking to someone in a Telstra call center. You can hear other people in the background on the the phone being “helped”. It sounds completely legit.
They usually know your name now. Where once they would call and just say ‘hey we are calling from Microsoft and have detected an issue with your computer – we can help you fix it’.. (trust us when we say Microsoft does NOT care about you enough to call you !) …now they are much more sophisticated. They know your name, sometimes your address and other details.
There have been articles online before suggesting that the staff in the legit call centers are actually sharing their databases and information with the scammers. To be honest, we would not be surprised if this was the case.
Their Telstra scam call sneaky tactics
They will often start by telling you that to help, they will just connect to your computer to show you where the errors are and how to fix them. Or they might say, if they are calling from “Telstra”, that they have detected virus activity on your computer or email account. They will have you give them remote access to your computer, and from here it can go downhill pretty fast.
They might start by getting you to navigate to an error log on your computer. You might be horrified at all the errors in there – and think “wow – there really is an issue with my computer”. Relax, this is normal and its on every computer.
They will get you (using whatever plausible story they can manage) to login to every account you own: email accounts, bank accounts and more. They will likely be recording all this information to use later and go shopping with your money.
What to do if you have been scammed
If you have given them any kind of remote access to your computer, we recommend taking it to your trusted IT partner (bonus points if that happens to be us!) for assessment. Sometimes your computer will be fine. Other times they will have loaded it with viruses, and in other cases as with this particular customer mentioned above – they put a start up password on the machine so she couldn’t log in to it without paying them money.
Here’s what you should do
- If you logged in to your internet banking, or store any password information on your computer, we strongly recommend contacting your bank and changing your passwords at a minimum. Ask for their advice on what else you should do.
- Did you give them your credit card information to “pay to have them resolve the issues” – change your credit card details
- Change your email passwords and anything else you have on that computer
- Run a scan with your internet security software
All is not lost
In most cases we can resolve the issue and get you back up and running without you losing your data. Now some dodgy “IT businesses” will try and tell you the only option is to reinstall Windows and start again – we don’t agree with this. If you have been told this, bring it in to us for a FREE second opinion.