Scalar Enterprises Blog
This page contains news about Scalar Enterprises, work we have been doing for our clients, new features and services etc. From time to time I will also include useful information and articles from myself and from various other sources along with comments, tips and thoughts from myself. Hope you find it useful and why not let me know if you have a question.
Last October (2012), I wrote a post on my blog about cold calling tech-support scams entitled “Fighting back against the scammers“. I have to say that at that time, I had never experienced it personally however, since I moved into my new office, I have had 3 such calls in the last 2 days ! In actual fact I also had one a few weeks before when I just happened to be having an on-site meeting with builders and I just happened to pick up the phone.
All the callers had Indian accents, the first two were female and the last a male. On all the calls I received, the telephone line quality typically was very poor (maybe that is is another good indicator to set the alarm bells ringing for you). I have to say that they do sound quite credible technically and even when challenged they still persist with their “story” and try to convince you.
Having done some further research on the topic recently, the best advice seems to be don’t give them any information, never let them access your PC and just hang up on them. If you are feeling brave, if you can, ask for their name, the name of their company and a phone number and web address. In most cases, asking such questions will most probably result in the caller hanging up on you but if you can get any information like this, you can pass it on to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. The more information they can get from such occurrences, the more chance there is that they may be able to take some action.
Some useful links to more information about these scams:
- Don’t fall for phony phone tech support (Microsoft)
- Anatomy of a scam: Phone caller warns your PC is infected
Hope this helps.
I don’t know about you, but these days, I am quite careful at looking at all the emails I receive to make sure I am not a victim of spam, scam, phishing or viruses etc. There are increasing numbers of “dodgy” looking, and some increasingly quite genuine looking, emails arriving constantly in my in-box each day so one has to be very careful to look at them before clicking on any links for example to make sure that you don’t end up downloading anything nasty onto your PC.
Some are fairly obvious, such as numerous emails from HSBC (or other banks) telling you there are problems with your account when you don’t even bank with them ! But others can be quite convincing and need much closer scrutiny before you click on any links in them.
If the sender is asking you to fill in any of your personal information, bank details or passwords etc then this should start alarm bells ringing !
A few tips
In order to try and identify if the sender is real and to establish how credible their company is, I would suggest you do the following. Ideally do all of them (and more if possible):
- Look at who sent it ? Do you know, or recognise, them or their company ?
- Have you received emails from this sender before ?
- Were you expecting an email from this sender ?
- Is it from a business email account (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) or a free web mail account (e.g. hotmail, gmail, yahoo) ? If it was sent from a legitimate business account, it is less likely to be spam or malicious but you still need to be careful.
- Hover your screen cursor (the little arrow or hand) with your mouse over any links in an email (but don’t click) and see what they look like (e.g. you can generally see this in the status bar at the bottom of your email tool window). If the web address is the same as the sender’s email (e.g. email from email@example.com and web address is www.abusiness.co.uk) then it is more credible but typically in dodgy email it will look nothing like it (e.g. it might be something like: http://ux.ed120.net/r/OBVC96H/GJBU/CE9T7/39J/T7E/MG/h). Unfortunately, sometimes the details of the link can be hidden so if you can’t see anything when you hover over the link, this is probably also grounds for suspecting something is not quite right.
- Don’t open any attachments you are sent with the email.
- Look at the senders web site address in their email and type it into a new browser tab (or window) – don’t click on any link to it directly in the email as it might take you somewhere different. Take a look at the information on their website and see how credible they look. For example, do they have their office address included, a landline telephone number rather than just a mobile number? Do they include their company registration details and VAT number (if registered)?
- Google the sender and their company and see what you can find. If it is dodgy, someone else may already have published details about it.
- Give the supposed sender / their company a call and see if they actually sent it.
I realise this can be quite a bit of work to do but think about the implications if you do get scammed or your PC, or even worse your entire network, gets infected.
Hope you find this useful and it helps reduce the likelihood of getting caught out.