Your computer has been hacked, This is according to the unsolicited phone call you receive, of course. The caller may claim that they are from a software company such as Microsoft, and that they have become aware of a breach on your computer. “Hacked” can mean different things, but most likely the scenario involves the scammer helping you rid your computer of a virus. To accomplish this feat, they want you to provide them with remote access to your computer. There are legitimate reasons why you might provide remote access to your computer to a third party, but it is NOT appropriate when an unsolicited caller wants to have this access.

Many nasty things can happen if you provide remote computer access to a scammer. First, to gain this access, the scammer will instruct you to download software from a website which will facilitate the remote access. Once this happens, the scammer will control your computer from afar. If you are looking at their computer screen, you can watch some of what is happening in real time. The scammer will act like they are helping you, but in reality, they may be secretly stealing information or downloading viruses to your computer, which is ironic, because they claim to be helping to eliminate viruses!

Then, without hesitation, the scammer will ask you to pay for their “virus removal services.” Once a payment is made, you essentially will have been scammed twice in one phone call.

Again, let’s look at how a person might respond emotionally versus logically.

Emotion: Your computer is infected with malware. This could be a big problem which needs my immediate attention. Logic and common sense: How would someone know that your computer has been infected with a virus, unless it’s not a person but your antivirus software, which might notify with a message on your computer, but not by phone call. There are no people standing by watching your computer, ready to jump into action.

Next post: The grandparent scam.