Reports are streaming in of Dell customers being targeted by scammers pretending to be Dell support staff, leading many in the industry to wonder if the computer manufacturer has been hacked and their customer database stolen. The con artists are phoning Dell users and gulling the victims with convincing information about equipment and service records that should only be known to Dell. After the fake support techs gain access to their target’s computer, the usual scare scam follows, intimidating users into paying for virus removal, performance tuning, etc. This may have been going on as far back as May of last year, but with reports flooding Dell’s actual service desk, they are finally admitting it’s a problem without confirming whether any data has been stolen.
What this means for you:
Unless you’ve hired a company like C2 to monitor your equipment and network, it’s extremely rare that a company like Dell or Microsoft will call someone directly to fix a problem, especially if you didn’t initiate the interaction from the onset. While manufacturers like Dell do actually ship some of their models with software that can perform monitoring and remote access, they aren’t actually in the business of monitoring the millions of computers they sell. The same is true of Microsoft – they have support desks, but proactively contacting customers about problems on individual machines is just not something either company will do. Anytime you receive a call like this from someone you don’t know, your best course of action is to disengage immediately and contact a trusted technology professional. If you are feeling cheeky, you can try to get a callback number (they may actually give you one) and get someone like C2 to vette the caller. Ninety-nine times out of 100, it’s going to be a scam. Don’t waste your time on these con artists, and always get a second opinion before acting on an unsolicited technical support call.
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