Telephone ISP Fraud

November 2011

Recently people in Revelstoke have received phone calls from false Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or Microsoft Technical Support (often originating from India) claiming that they are your service provider who has discovered problems with your computer, Windows operating system, Internet service, or viruses and they are calling to fix it.

This scam has been around for some time. All of these calls and calls like them are fraudulent. The caller attempts to instruct you to give them remote access to your computer where they can do any number of things, including obtaining personal information or history stored on your computer, online banking login information, credit card numbers etc. There are many online stories of people who have given these callers remote access to their computers and subsequently lost money from their bank accounts, charges made to their credit cards, and lost other personal or financial information which could then be used for other fraudulent purposes.

The number 1 indication that these calls are a scam:  A LEGITIMATE INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER (ISP) OR TECHNICAL SUPPORT SERVICE WILL NEVER CALL YOU DIRECTLY AND ASK YOU TO GIVE THEM ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER. Legitimate ISPs depend on YOU to call them if you are having problems.

- Insist on full, verifiable, and correct identification of the company callers claim to represent.
- Insist on a call back number and that you will call them back. If they don't allow this, hang up.
- Never give credit card or other personal information to someone who called you, unless you're absolutely, positively certain you know who they are.
- Do not be duped by technical language intended to confuse you! Real support services people will speak with you in clear, understandable terms that will make sense to you. If they don't, be suspicious and ask questions.

If you accept a phone call like this and actively engage in allowing remote access to your computer by anyone, or a fraudulent support person, you are responsible for subsequent loss of personal information, online banking access information, funds lost from your bank accounts, credit card information or anything else that may be stored on your personal computer. The only recourse is to contact the police and follow that line of action, as if someone had stolen your wallet from you.