Fraudsters are AGAIN targeting people with home computers and calling with an offer to fix viruses supposedly on their computers. Don’t get caught out! We explain what that scam involves, and how falling for this scam can lead to loss of monies, identity theft and ultimately a bad credit score.
By Graham Doessel, Founder and CEO of MyCRA Credit Repairs and www.fixmybadcredit.com.au.
In June last year we warned you about a ‘Microsoft phone scam’ which was rampant in Australia. Fake computer security engineers were contacting people by phone, offering to fix’problems’ they had detected on their computers.
Callers claiming to be from ‘Windows technical support’, who knew the victim’s name and address were claiming to see problems with the victim’s computer and asking whether the victim had noticed their computer becoming slower recently.
Then they were asking to take over the machine and fix the problems.
A warning from the government’s Stay Smart Online alerts today reveals this scam is still continuing to swindle unsuspecting computer owners. The scammers are using legitimate remote access sotftware, such as LogMeIn, TeamView and Ammyy.
The ACCC’S SCAMwatch website also warned consumers about the dangers of this scam back in June 2010.
“There are many potential dangers. As well as losing money to the scammer by paying for a service that provides you no benefits, your personal and banking details are also at risk. If you give a scammer remote access to your computer, they can cause all sorts of mischief – including infecting your computer and acquiring your personal information,” the website says.
When a fraudster is able to access our personal information they can do a host of things with it, including using it to commit identity theft. Creating fake ID, they are then able to take out credit in our name, having no care for the bad credit score they are leaving behind for the victim.
How it occurs:
We generally have no knowledge of the identity theft until it is too late, and we have a series of late payments against our name, which ultimately go to default stage.
Some identity theft victims can have a string of bad credit that shouldn’t be there, but which ruins their financial future – as they show up with a bad credit score. They can’t get a loan, they can’t get a credit card, they can’t even take out a mobile phone plan or get utility account.
If you do suspect you have been scammed, firstly you should report the potential identity theft to the Police. There is going to be no way of repairing your bad credit score without Police reports.
Secondly, obtain a copy of your credit file, to ensure you do not already have a bad credit score resulting from identity theft. A copy of your credit file is free once every 12 months from one or more of the credit reporting agencies in Australia.
It may also be a good idea to more regularly request a copy of your credit file. You can even alert credit reporting agencies, and your financial institution that you may be subject to identity theft, and they can ‘flag’ your accounts to alert you to any suspicious entries.
If you do find you have a bad credit score due to identity theft, you should contact a professional credit repairer. They can help you recover your good name in the least possible time, with the most knowledge of credit reporting legislation and with the best ability to negotiate with creditors on your behalf.
What to do to protect yourself from this phone scam
Microsoft Australia released a statement last year, warning Australians about these fraudsters, who conduct themselves in a professional manner, and sound genuine.
They gave this advice to Microsoft customers:
• Be suspicious of unsolicited calls related to a security problem, even if they claim to represent a respected company.
•Never provide personal information, such as credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited caller.
•Do not go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.
•Take the caller’s information down and pass it to the authorities.
•Use up-to-date versions of Windows and application software.
•Make sure security updates are installed regularly.
•Use a strong password and change it regularly.
•Make sure the firewall is turned on and that antivirus software is installed and up to date.
Visit our website, www.mycra.com.au or call us tollfree on 1300 667 218. MyCRA Credit Repairs is a professional credit repairer that can help with repairing your credit file following identity theft, or give you more information to safeguard your good name.