You’re on the phone with someone who claims they need to fix a problem on your computer. Or maybe a loved one contacts you and needs your help to get out of a jam. Before you proceed, take a minute to think. Because in many types of phone scenarios, there’s a good chance that you could end up falling for a scam.

Did you initiate the call?– When you have suspicions about a phone call, consider whether the other person called you. If you weren’t the one to place the phone call, that’s a major warning sign.

Scammers paint an extreme picture– For instance, they might claim that you have a dangerous computer virus that can steal banking information in transit. Or maybe they pose as a loved one who’s ended up in jail and needs money to get out. In extreme cases, they might even assert that they’ve kidnapped someone you know.

Did they show you the Windows Event Viewer?– Another common phone scheme,the “tech support” scam, involves someone calling you and pretending to be from Microsoft or another computer company. They request remote access to your computer via an app like TeamViewer and proceed to show you “signs” that your computer is infected.

Often, they open up the Windows Event Viewer utility in order to do this. The fraudster points to these the various Error and Warning entries as evidence that your computer has a bunch of problems.

If you’re not an experienced computer user, you might be bewildered at this. But the truth is that most of the logs in the Windows Event Viewer are unimportant. Windows keeps all sorts of information about minor network mishaps, services failing to start, and other small issues. In almost all cases, your computer will correct these and you don’t have to worry about it.

In fact, it’s normal to see several items in the Event Viewer on a new and clean system. If someone on the phone ever tells you to visit this tool and explains that all the errors inside are a big problem, they’re lying to you.

If you have been the victim of fraud please reach out to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.


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