. · • Limekilns Parish Church - Webmaster's PC Hints and Tips • · .

Quick tips

I had one of the most audacious scammers on the phone recently. He told me my call blocker was about to expire and I would be open to scammers getting through if I didn't renew. I asked if it would stop scammers like him from getting through; he hung up!

Your bank will never phone you and ask you to transfer money to another account to keep it safe.
No-one from Microsoft will phone you; EVER.
Amazon won't phone you with a recorded message telling you, you're Amazon Prime is going to be renewed.
BT won't phone you with a recorded message telling you that your phone and broadband are going to be disconnected.
No one is getting messages from your computer.
DO not give anyone you don't know, AND trust, remote access to your computer.
All scammers will try to convince you that something really bad is going to happen imminently; it's not, and even if it was, how do they know to phone you?

The Microsoft Scam - it's actually nothing to do with Microsoft!

I have had several calls recently from people claiming to be from Microsoft support and they were all very, very persistent. Despite me telling two of them I knew what I was doing on computers and telling them from the start they were trying to SCAM me, they kept going. I had to continually tell one of them I had already typed in what he was trying to spell and to hurry up as I knew what he was trying to get me to do! The M. O. was the same one they used a few years ago, and the end result was the same, however, I did stop when he wanted me to give him remote access to my computer.
I did an article about this very thing in the Village Link, Summer '18 edition, Page 7. I also included a screen dump of the page they will try to take you to, insisting that what you see there is deadly for your computer - it's not - it's a normal part of Windows and mine had nearly 6,500 warnings and errors; it's just that most people will never have gone into it. My advice is to put the phone down as soon as they say they are calling from Microsoft; Microsoft will never call you out of the blue about anything, EVER!

Remember though it's not just the Microsoft scam, people will call supposedly from BT, Amazon, HMRC and many, many others. My advice is this, treat your computer the same as you would if someone came to your door. By that I mean, presumably, if someone knocked at your door and claimed to be from Microsoft/Amazon/HMRC etc. and wanted access to your computer, hopefully, you would tell them to clear off. Never, ever, let anyone you don't know AND trust have access to your computer. Think logically. Why would any organisation you may have dealt with require access to your computer?
Hang up the phone immediately!

The advice and tips on this page

Computer guy at a laptop

Most of the advice offered on this page is, amongst other reasons, a result of problems I have seen on people's computers, mistakes people have made in normal use of their PCs and things people have done in response to scammers. These tips are here for your benefit. If you want to pass them on to others, please do. For quick tips and advice, go to the top of this page and click the refresh button on the browser, and the tip will change to a new one.

There is also a lot of useful information further down the page, and, I have also written articles for the Village Link Magazine which are available on below. Most of the information in these articles is still relevant today.

Dodgy phone calls and emails

One thing which many people don't think about is SPAM. Not getting SPAM but sending it. You should not send everyone in your address book the latest thing you have been sent, and which you think they should have, without asking them if they want to be included in you mass-marketing; you don't need to be a business to be guilty of SPAMMING people!

New PC or upgrade

If you're planning to get a new PC, desktop or laptop, I would recommend getting one with an SSD (Solid State Drive) installed. The speed benefit from this type of drive could mean you could spend less on the CPU depending on whether or not you do a lot of power intensive work; most people don't.

If you have a fairly old PC with Windows 7 installed, at time of writing, you can still upgrade that to Windows 10 for free. Then you could install an SSD, migrate the OS to that, and it would be like having a new machine for less than £100.

People who cold call you will always try to convince you something bad is imminent, because they don't want you to have time to do any checks.

Under no circumstances should you ever allow anyone you don't know and trust, to have any kind of access to your computer.

beware of dodgy phone calls or emails

I have had several phone calls from people claiming to be someone, or something, they are not. I had a nice chat with a man who claimed to be calling from Microsoft, another was from BT, yet another telling me there were lots issues with my PC; he eventually hung up when I asked how he knew to call my home number if all he got were warnings about the computer.

Marcia and I have both had emails supposedly from sites we have bought from in the past. There was even one recently saying it was from o2. What these emails want is for you to click the link in the email and then enter your details. However by doing that, you are giving the dodgy site your login details. If you want to check, don't click the link in the email, go the site directly.

There are ways to make sure you don't get caught with this. Firstly, on a PC, if an email contains a link, place the mouse on the link, but don't click it. Then look to the bottom left of the email and you should see the web address the link is actually going to take you to. Secondly, if you are asked to login to o2 or Amazon or an other site you regularly deal with, go to the link in your favourites, or go via Google. Then you are logging into the genuine site.

Treat people on the phone in the same way you would if they came to your door; hopefully, that would mean you wouldn't let them in and then give them access to your computer and its associated passwords etc? Assuming that assumption is correct, don't listen to someone who calls you of the blue and makes all sorts of claims about your computer, broadband provider or anything similar. Be suspicious! It could save you a lot of money.

what's new?

I'll add information about new threats as I get them.

What I have seen most often recently are machines with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of infections. These are not necessarily viruses, but they are malware, and will cause problems with your machine which may not become apparent for months after you have brought in the first suspect file.