Computer & PC Help

Internet Tips for Seniors25 Apr

I want to share a story about on-line scams. Recently, I had someone contact me about a parent who’d be scammed out of about $200.00 and this person’s PC was Hi-Jacked. There was a message telling my client it would cost $10.00 for my client to use her machine. The person that contacted me was able to get on the machine but wasn’t sure if that nightmare was over. Enter me… I’ve been in business for over 20 years I actually work as a Network Administrator/System Administrator/Manager full time. I do the my personal business on the weekends because my work schedule is full. This isn’t a commercial for my business; It just makes me angry when seniors are taken advantage of.
First things first…No one, absolutely, no one knows what you are doing on line – what this means it yes you are being tracked by advertisers which is why when you open social media, you’ll suddenly see ads for things you’ve looked at. Sites like Amazon are very good at that. They target what you view and then the email you recommendations for purchases. It’s not just Amazon that does this; it’s any site you visit to view or purchase goods from. This isn’t necessarily dangerous, although it could be if you’re not careful. Scammers take advantage of this stuff too. You may get an email with a link saying you’ve just be picked to …. The link usually looks strange it can look something like and it will be what’s referred to a hyperlink. Meaning you will click on it and it will take you to a site that the scammer has set up. The site may install a virus, ransomware, etc. This can cause you much “pain”. It can steal your personal information, especially if you do your banking on your computer, your social security information and anything else related to what you do on line; even your pictures. It can take control of your email accounts, and even lock you out of your computer by changing your password too.
My point is you need to be aware of what you are doing. SLOW DOWN and read everything carefully. I always tell people Microsoft, IRS, Social Security, FED EX, USPS etc. will never, ever send you an email if you didn’t initiate it. So, if you suddenly receive a text or an email out of the blue, it’s a scam – delete it immediately.
Next, if you are surfing the internet and you suddenly come upon a page that says something like WARNING – YOU ARE INFECTED WITH A VIRUS!!! – CALL XXX-XXX-XXXX. This too is a scam. Just close your browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Internet Explorer). It will go away and chances are you are not infected. This site is just trying to get you to call so the scammers can gain access to your computer. Again, stealing your information and even holding it hostage by charging you to clean it up. Please don’t fall for this.
Also, NEVER, NEVER allow ANYONE access to your computer UNLESS YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE!! That’s how my client got scammed. They told her that they were from Microsoft and she was infected with a virus and for $200.00 they’d clean it up. NO!!! Wrong. No one knows you’re infected with anything unless you tell them or you’ve fallen victim of a scam. This person installed TeamViewer (a software that allows remote access to a machine) and they made this person pay. I told this person – “That’s like me calling you up and telling you your oven is on. How could I possibly know that?” I hope this person understood. I did manage to take the PC home with me, remove TeamViewer and clean out the virus that was installed on the machine. And this PC did have virus protection too! However, virus protection is only as good as it’s last update so if someone is able to disable or outsmart that virus protection, it’s worthless. You need to be smarter than the people doing this. So, think about it before you act. Its so easy to be fooled especially when you think you have been infected. Most of the time you’re not. Believe me you will know if you have a problem. Suddenly, popups will appear when you open your browser, your machine may get really slow or even crash. Depends upon the virus and what it does. If you are the victim of ransomware – then basically it’s over. Ransomware encrypts everything and makes it unusable unless you pay to get the encryption key. That’s the equivalent of someone changing the locks at you home and not allowing you in unless you pay them.
So be careful, so down, take your time and READ everything. If something doesn’t appear right, it’s not! Fortunately, for my client it wasn’t that bad in terms of infection but it still cost her $200.00 and I’m sure my client could have used that money for something else. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, be suspicious of everything you do an see on line. Don’t be a victim.
What can you do? Well again, the best thing is to think before you act. Ask yourself how can this person know that I’m infected, who are they, what do they really want… There are things you can install inside your browser to help protect you from being hijacked on line. IT will alert you when a link isn’t good. These things are free. Ghostry, AdGuard Adblocker, Facebook container, Ublock Origin – these are all FREE and can easily be installed on any browser. Just look them up and install them. This will help and it’s what I did for my client after I cleaned it up.

Moral of the story is YOU are the only know that will be able to prevent yourself from being scammed. PAY ATTENTION.

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