One Quarter of All PC Users Stung by Help Desk Scams

Monday, November 15, 2010



Internet scam artists are unrelenting in their efforts to produce new and innovative techniques to lure unsuspecting web users into voluntarily handing over sensitive information like passwords, bank account and credit card information.

A report by consumer security advocates reveals a stunning twenty-five percent of all PC users have been fooled by so-called "Help Desk" scams.

The modus operandi of the scammers varies, but all employ aspects of social engineering wherein the perpetrators attempt to impersonate legitimate software, hardware or IT service providers.

The scheme can come in the form of an unsolicited phone call with instructions to provide critical financial or access information in order to avert a threat, or may attempt to persuade the victim to go to an unfriendly website that can infect the user's computer with malware.

More commonly, the scam comes in the form of a pop-up window designed to look like a reputable company such as Microsoft, with a message to have the victim proceed with a free scan of their PC for threats.

"Most reputable IT providers do not approach customers in this way without prior notice or a direct request," managing director Tony Neate of says.

Be wary of any unsolicited contact that instructs you to provide sensitive information, and always check the validity of a website's URL before visiting it. Just because the URL has the name of a known corporation in it, it does not mean the URL is owned, operated, or at all connected with that business.


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