Tech Support Scammers & now request payment in vouchers?
People fall for Tech support scammers all too often, they usually prey on the elderly or vulnerable that will be naive compared to many other people. The calls play out in a similar manner, you will receive a call from someone saying they are from a reputable company such as Microsoft and state you have a virus.
They will convince you to allow them to remote onto your machine so they can show you all the viruses on your machine, unfortunately, this is a scam.
They will log in remotely and run Event Viewer to show you:
This screen shows a lot of errors but these occur naturally in your machine and they are NOT viruses as the scammers will like you to believe. Once they convince their victim that they are infected they will tell you a solution they will provide.
A typical solution offered would be full maintenance, Virus Protection and network protection but the program they use is usually a cheap product containing Adware and not offering what they claim. Unfortunately, too many people fall for it.
I can just refuse to pay
The Tech Support scammers tend not to enjoy wasting their time. Once they go through all the solutions they will go on a hard sell. Usually, they will direct you to a screen ready to enter all your details including personal information and credit card information. The scam would not just be to get a payment from you but also in some cases it would be to steal your identity.
So they go through the hard sell and you refuse to pay now what? Here is where we have to be careful, the best course of action would be to disconnect them or not allow connection at all. If this isn’t an option they may use SysKey to lock your computer.
What is SysKey?
SysKey was introduced by Microsoft to allow you to lock the PC down without a password, you can lock the Registry Hive and stop unauthorised users using the company. I wish SysKey was removed though as it is not really needed on newer systems, Tech Support Scammers use it to lockout unsuspected users as it can be launched and activated quickly without users noticing.
Blackmail to remove SysKey?
The next step would be to try and extort money from you and the scammers are learning that Credit Card companies can cancel the payments leaving them high and dry. They have become wise and began asking for voucher payments such as iTunes Vouchers such as highlighted by MalwareBytes, the article is older but still valid.
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