The Computer Corner

netflix-km4F-U30645200185blC-575x323@RC

By Charles Miller

In a recent column I addressed the problem associated with searching for a telephone support phone number and finding a fake rather than a real one. I pointed out that the popular free email services provided by Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo do not offer any telephone support, so you will never find a real phone number for them. There are, however, any number of impostors who will try to trick you into thinking they work for those companies, and they are willing to take your money. So it is with some measure of personal embarrassment that I myself got involved with one of these fakes.

The situation was that my client needed assistance with Netflix but was eager to wind things up with me and said she could call Netflix herself. I had found the tech support phone number for Netflix and wrote that down for her as I was leaving. I failed to do what I should have done (verify the number), but time was short.

So my client later phoned the number she had good reason to believe was Netflix technical support. Never mind that she had called asking for help with her smart TV; the people she called said they could fix the television if they could take control of her computer. So the techs talked her through the process of opening a web site and installing software to allow the crooks to take over control of her computer.

Much to the credit of my client, she had gotten suspicious when the techs started asking for personal information such as her date of birth and tried to sell her on a support plan. She decided to break things off with them and called me.

The first thing I told her was to immediately turn off her computer. She did that and a few minutes later the techs she had been talking to called her saying they had lost the connection to her computer. This indicated to me that they must have been prowling about in the computer looking for personal information, passwords, and more. I suggested the computer should not be turned on again until we could be sure it was not infected. As things turned out, the client’s law office decided that computer should not be used again until it could be brought into the office to be completely scrubbed clean. Lawyers have to take electronic data security seriously. As the office is in the States, this means not having the use of the computer for some time.

When I belatedly investigated that phone number, the first search I did using Google returned results for that number as “official” tech support for Microsoft, Roku, Netflix, c, and Yahoo among others. Obviously the crooks are not really authorized support for any of those companies, some of which do provide genuine tech support by phone, and some of which do not.

I am out of space to continue here this week, but please revisit this page next week for the rest of the story and investigation into these online crooks who impersonated Netflix.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981 and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.

 

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