Beware the ‘Virus Fixer’ who calls you on the phone!

Scam copyThe phone scam, where someone who professes to be from a major tech company calls and tells you that you have a virus on your computer, is apparently making the rounds again (or still).

There are two flavors to this scam. The phone call seems to take the same form in each scam. Someone claiming to be from Microsoft, Norton , McAfee, or the like calls to tell you that you have a virus. What happens next differs sightly.

In the most common scenario, the nefarious person accesses the computer to ‘fix’ it. What they are really doing is planting malicious software that can do any of the following:
• Track your typing to log your credit card numbers, passwords or anything else that you type
• Monitor your online behavior, such as email, web browsing and online shopping
• Take control of your computer to use as a conduit to send out viruses to everyone on your contact list
• Access documents and any other files on your computer
• Lock you out of your own computer
• Delete any or all of its content

The objective of this type of scam is typically to gain information related to the first three items above.

The second scenario is that you are asked for credit card details in order to to pay for the service which will be provided to clean up your computer. The malicious software may or may not be placed on your computer. In the instances where this has happened locally, no malware was involved and the scam artist was only interested in the credit card information.

The lesson here is that no one will ever telephone you to tell you that you have a virus on your computer. How would they know? Hang up immediately and notify the police or state attorney general.

While this scam is not new, it seems to be making the rounds again. Please remind your friends and family of the logistics and dangers of this scam.

About the Author

Judy Novotny

Judy is a computer veteran with 30 years of experience. She has owned everything from a TRS-80, Apple IIe and various Windows-based PCs. She is currently living in her Apple ecosystem at home consisting of an iPhone, iPad, iMac, MacBook, Apple TV, iPod nano and two Time Capsules. She is a fan of all things mobile since she got her first Palm Pilot in 1999. Check out her iPad app, Number Wizard, in the App Store. Follow her on Twitter @junovotech or at

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