Letter to the editor

Microsoft virus scam

Sat, 04/27/2019 - 8:00am

Dear Editor:

... And to my fellow community members: There’s a computer scam being played on us, and it’s quite persuasive in its method. Three of my friends have been browsing the internet, when up pops a message that in essence says “This is Microsoft. Your computer is infected with a nasty virus and we need to remove it. Call us immediately at the following phone number.” The message looks official, and scary. When you call the phone number, the scammers act and sound like Microsoft staff. At first, they want access to your computer, and fool you into allowing them to take control of it. After some time during which it appears they have been busy working, they will then say they need payment. Oh, they don’t want your credit card, they want a gift card. You can guess the rest.

What should you do if this happens to you?  (1) When you first see the message, just ignore it and close your internet browser. Done. If the PC seems unresponsive, shut it down. Crash it if you must, but shut it down. The attack will be over and all will be fine. (2) If you decide to call the number, and have allowed them into your PC, just force your PC to shut down. Crash it if needs. In the 3 instances that I’ve worked with, no damage was done and the computer re-starts just fine. (3) If you’ve paid them, you’ve lost some money and I don’t know what else they’ve done to your computer. I would suggest you have it carefully checked for malware.

Remember: No one at Microsoft cares about you in the least. They will never contact you. Period. If something pops up on your screen seemingly from nowhere, ignore it. In truth, outside forces cannot see what’s on your computer. Know your antivirus logo and message style so you can feel confident if another message appears from some other source, that it’s not your antivirus communicating to you.

Dwight Swisher