How To Identify Scammers

[ad]Dear Computer Lady,

Was hoping for your help on this problem. A few days ago I rec’d a call from someone with a foreign accent, claiming to be from “Windows,” telling me, in broken English, that my Windows was “corrupt!” Having just read a warning about scammers who use this same tactic, I thanked him for calling, told him I was not having a problem and just hung up, before he continued. I immediately checked my laptop and it seemed to be running just fine. I have anti-virus, anti-malware & anti-spyware running on that laptop, with no notifications from any of them pending. After the 6th call that same day, from what seemed like the same man, I blew my top, told him that we were on a “national do not call list” and if he continued to bother me, I would do what I could to see him prosecuted. He then assured me he would not call again. Skip 3 days later… My laptop will not let me advance beyond the initial sign in page (where you enter your password). Upon hitting “enter” (after filling in my password), the screen goes a medium bluish color and just sits and spins (as if it’s trying to spin up Windows but it’s so corrupt it cannot find the right path). So, now my laptop sits in a repair shop, waiting to see if it only needs a clean install of Windows or… Even more. Long story short… How do we tell the scammers (who are just trying to access our private info) from the real deal when they call? All of them sound sooooo convincing that it’s hard for us old newbies to be sure. Please help. And, many
thanks for all that you do to help all of us. Old dogs can learn new tricks, but we just can’t jump as high or run as fast. 🙂

Dear Susan,

It is easy to tell the scammers from the real deal because the scammers are the only ones who will call you. Ever.

Microsoft will never call you, Windows will never call you. If your computer is having problems, you will be the first one to notice and you will be the one to call someone (your local computer repair shop is the best place to call).

The only possible exception I have ever seen over the years is if a computer is infected and sending out lots of virus laden messages, your Internet service provider will probably call you… or they might just turn your internet access off and wait for you to call them.

You probably already know this, but the fact that your computer had problems 3 days after these phone calls is not related.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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