Scams involving computers are becoming more and more common as criminals know if they ring a home or business, they most likely have a computer. It is also incredibly likely that the computer is installed with softwarre from Microsoft and/or Google. So if they ring random phone number, and say “This is Terry from Microsoft, we have noticed a problem with your computer and just wanted to discuss with you” then this would apply to nearly 90% of users.
Microsoft, Google or any other major internet business DO NOT PHONE CUSTOMERS. This is invariably a scam to try and get you to either download malicious software to your PC (ie. virus, spyware) or get you to give up credit card details. Hang up the phone immediately, do not even engage with these people!
There is also a record increase in emails claiming to be from your online banking, paypal or other site. In most of these cases they have “lost” your details and need you to type them in again. Don’t do it! This is also as scam. Emails like this can be made to LOOK like they are legitimate, but they are NOT. Again, these businesses do not send emails of this nature (not do they phone you, unless you have contacted them first). But don’t just delete these emails, mark them as SPAM so you can cut down on future instances.
Finally, if your business runs a website, be sure it is up to date. Nearly every day thousands of website are infected with malware that us used by the above email scammers – yes, that’s right, the fake online banking people are redirected to could exist on your very website. Make sure your website software is completely up to date, and use a service like http://sitecheck.sucuri.net to scan your site for malicious code. If you are not sure how to keep your site safe, there are plenty of nightclasses, training centres etc in town where you can learn.
Be safe online over the Christmas season – while it is the best time of year for retail, it is also the best time of year for criminals. For more information, see the following links: