PC scams are alive and well this summer. In fact, there are some seriously deadly PC scams to watch for in summer 2014.
Some of these scams will lock down your PC and charge you $600 to unlock it “for ransom”. Other scams involve mysterious callers claiming to be from Microsoft.
Want to be smarter than the scammers this summer? Watch out for these PC scams:
Cryptolocker could be the most dangerous scam of summer 2014. Cryptolocker encrypts your files and locks down your system. It prevents you from accessing your most important files without paying a ransom.
That ransom ranges from $400 to $600. The worst part of it, however, is that there isn’t really a good way to fix the problem without paying the ransom.
Yes, you can remove the Cryptolocker virus fairly easily. Recovering your files, however, is another matter entirely. Your files are secured under lock and key and unless you have a supercomputer capable of breaking 256-bit encryption, you won’t be able to regain access to your files unless you have them backed up on another computer or cloud storage.
The best way to avoid Cryptolocker is to avoid downloading suspicious email attachments. In fact, suspicious email attachments appear to be the only way the virus is spread. Before downloading anything through email, make sure it’s from a contact you actually know.
This scam isn’t new but it seems to have faced a resurgence this summer. Your phone – typically a home landline – will receive a call – typically from an Indian – who claims to be a Microsoft employee. According to that employee, Microsoft has detected serious Windows problems.
Of course, this guy isn’t a Microsoft employee – he’s a scammer. If you follow through with his steps, he’ll install spyware on your computer and perform other nefarious actions.
Don’t fall for this scam. Be smarter than that. Microsoft will never call you to warn you about computer problems.
If someone calls claiming to be from Microsoft, just hang up. Or, better yet, lead the guy on for hours to waste his time.
Today, some of the most popular PC scams don’t come from the internet. Instead, they come through phone lines.
PCs today are great at detecting threats before they occur. Your browser has built in anti-malware tools, your OS has built-in antivirus software, and before you download a virus, you receive dozens of warnings telling you that what you’re doing is dangerous.
For all of these reasons, scammers have turned to more traditional methods of ruining your day.
Namely, the telephone has been used for all of the following types of scams:
-Grandparent scams where callers receive a call from “their grandkid” asking for money for an “emergency”
-Jury duty scams, where you’re threatened with a huge fine if you don’t report for jury duty
-IRS scam, where callers pretend they’re from the IRS and demand your bank money
-Banks, utilities, lotteries, sweepstakes, and many more scams where callers pretend to be from a legitimate organization
A telephone scammer will tell you to install software o your computer. This software lets them remotely access your device and monitor your keystrokes, credit card information, and many other dangerous things.
The next time someone calls you and tells you to do anything with your computer, hang up the phone immediately.