Tuesday, September 3, 2013

IT Department Phone Scam Hits Home

Business telephone numbers are considered public information. Consequently we get a lot of unwanted telemarketing and robo calls. The cruise ship horn hasn't blasted my eardrums in months.  Google has annoyed me to the point that I Bing everything just to avoid using it. Recently, the media has reported on this trend and why these calls have shifted from individuals to companies.

The other day I received a call that caused real concern. It was more that a mechanized sales pitch. A live person (the first surprise) identified himself as being from the technical services department. Our company is so small that the idea of having a tech department is laughable. I hung up immediately. There is no doubt in my mind that had I continued the call, the "IT specialist" would have asked to  link to my computer to "test" something.  Our system would have been hacked and who knows how much sensitive data might have been compromised.  (Check it out here.)

Because the individual sounded "foreign" and it is commonly accepted that most IT call centers are not in the US, many people will try to be helpful and do as the bad guy requests. Some clever crook has devised a new twist on an old phishing method. This scam was prevalent a couple of years ago with the callers claiming to be Windows support. It is back but without the specific reference to the Microsoft product. The bad guys must hope that we all have bad memories and won't remember them.

The world is truly getting smaller as technology links us. I still marvel that my books reach people in foreign countries. However, with every good thing, there is a dark side. Not all communication is beneficial.  Just as Twitter and Facebook force us to evaluate every news item for accuracy and truth, telephone calls are also subjects for close examination. We cannot assume that those who call us are legitimate.

Bottom line: Communication is good.  Except when it is not.

No comments: