By David Glick
The Issue and Our Recommendation: There is at least one company from outside our country calling US residences claiming they are from Microsoft/HP/Dell/etc and insisting that the computer(s) in the home are infecting other computers on the Internet and that ‘they’ will, for $300 (or so), ‘fix’ the offending computer(s). This is a complete sham – do not fall for it – just tell them you have a technician who will ‘fix’ your computer for you, tell them to never call back, and hang up on them. This may even happen to you more than once – I know a lady that paid the first time, and then another person (from another ‘company’ of course!) called up saying “Oh, that last one was a scam, we will REALLY fix your computer for you!” and she got scammed again!
Explanation: First, there is NO way anyone or any company (other than your Internet Service Provider or ISP) could know YOUR specific computer is infected – they would need to get a court order from your ISP to get the specific IP address for your service on the day that the offense occurred. FYI an IP address is like a telephone number, but in computer speak. Yes, Century Link now can tell that your computer could be infected and does in fact send you a notice telling you to correct the issue or they will cut you off. Also, it is in almost all ISP’s TOS (Terms of Service) that you need to keep current antivirus on your computer(s) and that if you are infected it does in fact violate the TOS and they may cut you off until the issue is fixed on your end.
HOWEVER, there is NO way a third party would know about this without that court order. In light of these scam issues, we strongly recommend using a local company for your IT needs, not a company that resides out of your country and insists on support contracts.
UPDATE 2017: This is STILL going on and has become more prevalent!! Please do not EVER let anyone into your computer unless you absolutely trust them. A local computer company is your best friend in most cases! If you are in doubt, call it out and do not let them into your computer (just hang up).