Nut graf: The caller claimed to be from Microsoft Security, but it’s a phone-phishing scam.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Security, watch it. It’s a crock.
If the person says there’s been a breach and someone’s trying to change the IP number of your computer, you can tell what’s in the crock by smell alone.
If he wants you to give him your IP address, well, the contents of said crock are slopping over.
I got this call Saturday on the house phone. It was from Windows Security in Colorado, and I spoke with some guy named Matthews. Now that’s a white-bread name, right? Except he’s not from around here. His accent sounded Middle Eastern. A minor red flag, but a red flag nonetheless.
Anyway, this Mr. Matthews or whoever he was said someone was trying to change the IP number of my computer. Now, that’s important stuff. I can tell a lot about a guy from what IP number he’s using.
Here’s your sign:
Sign by Danasoft – Get Your Sign
Sign by Danasoft – Get Your Sign
If you’re one of those geeks who reads tech manuals in the head, check out https://www.whatismyip.com/. Not only does it allow me to look up my IP address, but it explains what one is.
For the less technically inclined, here’s the short version:
“An IP address is an exclusive number online devices use to identify and communicate with each other through computer networks. This process can best be compared to how we receive mail to our home address. An IP address would be most similar to a mailing address, while the network would be compared to the town you live in. Just like our home addresses, information cannot be sent or received by devices without a specific address.”
If you want to read the whole thing, check it here.
The IP address changes from time to time anyway. It’s not static. Another indication that there were sharks in the phishing hole again.
Here’s the deal. This IP number gives someone power. Maybe able to tap into some of my sites, including banking goodies. Certainly able to take over my computer by remote control and use it to bombard the Pentagon. Or install some juicy malware just for grins.
Here’s the synopsis of the call:
Matthews wanted to know whether I used the computer for business or personal use, and I asked if it was important. His answer didn’t matter; it was nonresponsive gobbledygook that your average computer wouldn’t really know or care about.
Then Matthews wanted me to hit up that what’s-my-IP site and find out. I already anticipated Matthews’ next question, which was to give him that address. The conversation didn’t go that far because, quite honestly, I turned pit bull on him. It was fun.
Matthews wanted me to go to my computer. I gave the excuse that the computer is in another room (true) and can he call my cell number? Which he did. Of course his number (951-143-5447) popped up on my cel. The area code isn’t in Colorado, in fact it’s the same as mine (Riverside, CA). A long way from Colorado, huh?
I kept the conversation going while I did a fast bit of research. Here’s what I found out:
According to the Microsoft user forum:
“BEWARE – Users have been reporting they have received phone calls, some claiming to be from “Microsoft”, telling them that that their computers are infected. The caller asks the User if they are online and if their computers are performing slowly.
If their computers are not running, they will ask the User to boot the system and report on the start up time or, if the system is running and online, they will tell the User that a tech can take over control of it and clean a “virus infection”.
This is a scam !!!
If you happen to receive one of these phone calls ask the caller for the name of the company, where they are located, and their phone number.
Then hang up and report this to:
IC3 (internet crime)
The Local FBI Office ( if you’re in the US)
Microsoft will never, repeat, NEVER, cold call people who use Windows. NEVER !!!
Do not fall for this latest scam.
NEVER allow strangers to take over your computer. NEVER !!!”
Got that part? The real Microsoft does not cold-call anyone.
That’s when I went nuclear on the guy. “Who are you really with?” I asked. Of course he said Microsoft.
Then I hit him with this:
- I use a Linux system.
- And he’s full of whatever it was in that crock.
I think I ticked him off because he suggested I was full of the same substance. It actually sounded melodious with his accent and all. Then he hung up.
I feel much better.
Now, I know my way around computers. The average person, not so much. You may or may not know what an IP address is or why it’s so important, and it’s a guarantee that some folks would think it’s all very harmless and gladly give the info up. And that’s some baaaaad stuff.
Enjoy your computer. Enjoy your online experience. Use it for work, for home banking, for online file storage. for whatever your little heart desires. The Internet is the greatest invention since the toilet seat.
But guard your information. Keep tuned to the scams, and know how to recognize one. Do some quick homework on the fly if you have to. And protect that information.
Computers are still the great unknown to a lot of people. Threats of viruses and malware will scare anyone, and there’s a pretty good cottage industry that plays off this. Even the most legit computer security companies such as the ones who maintain your virus protection programs use this fear to their benefit, which is why they can get away with asking for so much money.
There are sharks aplenty out there, they’re hungry and they smell blood. Make sure it’s not yours.