The caller told her that Telstra had detected that her computer had a virus, one that puts the Telstra network at risk and that she must therefore have fixed. She had been having trouble with passwords that morning, so the timing of the call seemed to fit in with her thinking that something was not quite right.
Credit Card details stolen
But before the caller would fix the 'virus' issue, my client was asked to pay a fee - by providing her credit card details.
The 'technician' then asked her to download a product called TeamViewer, which is a tool that allows someone to remotely access and manage your computer - a great product, when it is used for good not evil!
Computer remotely accessed & private information potentially stolen
With her permission (by providing a passcode shown on her TeamViewer screen), the 'technician' remotely accessed her Mac. He showed her 'proof' of the 'problem' by bringing up some scary looking red error messages. (These messages are normal messages that in no way prove the existence of a virus.)
With full access to her computer for a period of time, who knows what other information - identity information, account information, passwords, etc - he managed to access.
Having realised too late that she had been scammed, the client disconnected her Mac from the Internet and contacted the bank and other financial institutions to put a hold on accounts. She then called iTandCoffee late yesterday for assistance.
Her computer must now be cleaned of any 'nasties' that might have been planted by the scammers and all passwords (a long list) will need to be changed today. A few really important ones were changed last night, just to be safe.
Only once she provides proof (from iTandCoffee) that her computer has been cleaned of problems and her passwords changed, will the bank re-activate her accounts and provide her with a new credit card account.
The Lesson to be Learned
HANG UP on callers telling you that you have a problem with your internet, computer or some other service - no matter how insistent and threatening they are.
NEVER giving your credit card or identity details or passwords to someone who calls you, unless it is something that you have initiated and are ABSOLUTELY sure the caller is legitimate.
NEVER give anyone remote access to your computer unless you are absolutely sure you know who they are.
ALWAYS be suspicious!
These callers will often give you a phone number to call to confirm that they are legitimate. Never use that number to confirm their legitimacy, as it will take you straight back to them.
If you a concerned that the call might be legitimate, hang up and call the company using a phone number that you get from the REAL business website or from the top of one of your bills, and ask if there is any issue in relation to your account. Guaranteed, there will be NO issue.
Need more information?
For more information about this scam, check out this article on the government's Scamwatch website.
If in doubt or in need of further advice about this or other scam calls or emails, call iTandCoffee on 1300 885 420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.