Scams… and questions I get asked a lot…

By | July 24, 2023

Last week I got a reminder of some of the nasty scams that are circulating out there on the internet – my son nearly get himself in a pickle with one, and we had a call from a customer to help with something similar.

Honestly, there are millions of scams around – cons, email scams, all sorts. But there’s one in particular I wanted to tell you about today.

It’s an old one, but it’s still going strong.

How it works is you’re sitting at home and the phone rings. It’s Microsoft, saying they’ve had a warning that there’s a problem with your PC and if you click a few buttons they can put it right.

Or maybe an official-looking notification pops up on your PC telling you that you’ve got a virus on your system and giving you a link to click or a phone number to call.

Maybe they’ll say it’s been hit by a virus or maybe they’ll say it’s on the verge of failing – but they’ll be adamant that you need to let them access it. Or visit a particular website and download a particular program.

Either way, it isn’t Microsoft – it’s a bunch of horrible little scammers trying to get hold of your hard-earned.

They’ll either use the access you give them to put software on your PC that tracks whatever you’re doing – including any card details you use. Or that locks your PC so they can charge you to unlock it. Or use it to take over your PC and use it to spread viruses to other computers.

Or all three.

Oh, and they don’t always say they’re Microsoft. Sometimes (especially if they think they’re talking to someone in a business) they’ll say “It’s the IT department.” I find this one especially funny if they call one of us here at Helpful Books. I know our IT department – he’s called Mike!

Sometimes they’ll say they’re from BT or your mobile phone provider – and if your internet connection really is through BT, or you really do have an O2 smartphone, you might find that persuasive. Just remember they could say that to everyone and probably half of everyone they talk to has their internet through BT, so they had fairly good odds of getting it right.

If you do get a call like this, just ignore them and hang up. Or if you feel like having some fun, say “Oh, I don’t have a PC” or “Which one, I have 8 different PCs – is it one of the Linux ones or the ones running MS DOS?” and listen for them to get confused and hang up.

I get asked certain questions all the time
Aside from “Mum, please can I have a drink/sandwich/moon-on-a-stick?”… the most common question I get asked is probably, “How do I do so-and-so on my phone/laptop/PC/tablet?”.

Obviously what the “so-and-so” people want to do on their devices does vary – not everyone wants to do exactly the same things.  But you might be surprised how often they are the same questions – it turns out a lot of people do want to do the same things with their phones, tablets and PCs… whether that’s backing up and sharing photos, using “the Cloud”, making greetings cards and labels, booking holidays…  

Which is why I made sure we covered all those common questions in the new edition of our Next Steps books.

Have a read of the information about them here to find out a bit more about what’s covered – and also who they’re suitable for and how to get your copies.

They’re already going fast – why not have a look now?

4 thoughts on “Scams… and questions I get asked a lot…

  1. pamela maher

    My pet windows scam was a tinny little Malaysian accent, first asking me very politely how I was “doin’ ? ” so of course They got the full list of all my aches etc. When I asked who I was speaking to (there are never any names !) I was told that they were from “The Windows Company”, so I go into my routine how son has paid for triple glazing all the windows–such a nice boy-and go into a full product routine endorsement, which takes ages, and by the end they are delighted to get away, and they lodge my number into a bin marked “mad woman” !!
    Great fun to see how long they last!


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