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March 3, 2014
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Watch out for tech support call scam


We have published this before but in recent weeks we have seen an increase in the number of people experiencing the same type of scam, so we wanted to remind people to be careful and avoid the problem.

You are doing some Internet surfing and you get a phone call from someone from Microsoft Tech Support. Supposedly, they had heard that you were having trouble with your installation of Windows. You start to give them personal information and then thought, “What’s up? Is this for real?”

This is scary, and it happens all the time! Their scam is to convince you that they know something about your computer and then charge you money to fix the “problem.” In a worst-case scenario, you might be convinced to allow them to make a remote connection to your computer. This always requires some effort on your part, so they have to convince you that they’re genuinely trying to help. Once that happens, you’ve lost control over what happens to your computer.

Let’s make this clear, no reputable software company will ever contact you for any reason with the intent of providing technical support. If you get a call offering technical services, it’s a scam and you should immediately hang up.

Their operation was interesting. They asked you to go through some steps that made it look like they knew what they were doing — they had you dig around in your settings to find a long string of numbers you were to read to them, indicating that they had the correct computer. The only catch was that the numbers are the same for every installation of Windows! Luckily, you caught on before giving them money or allowing them to connect to your computer remotely.

If something like this has happened to you, or if you think your computer may have been infected with some sort of malware, contact a local computer professional for help. Nevada County provides a number of qualified technicians. In any case, don’t fight it alone — get professional help.

But most importantly, don’t fall for the scammers who call you offering technical support and don’t ever allow a stranger who calls you to connect to your computer remotely.

Screenshot of iPhone screen

This is another question we always get so we are reminding you again on how to get a screen shot on your mobile phone. This is especially useful when installing a new application or checking with a friend on the proper settings to access your email from Gmail.

On desktop computers, this is a common request and it’s easy to do. Both Windows and Mac operating systems include built-in features to take screen shots. It’s built-in on the iPhone, as well, but there’s no way anyone would guess how to do it.

To take the screen capture on your iPhone, simultaneously press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons (the oblong button at the top of the phone). You’ll hear a camera shutter sound and the screen will flash white. You’ll find the new screen capture in your phone’s saved photos. You can email it from the photo gallery, making it easier to describe the problem you’re having with the phone.

If you’re an Android user and you have an Android 4.0 or greater, it’s easy to take a screen capture; Press and hold the volume and power buttons down at the same time. Again, the screen capture will be saved in your photo gallery and you can email the photo. If you’re using an earlier version of Android, it’s probably time to upgrade, but in any case, there are apps you can download to help with screen captures.

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken’s tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at http://blog.techtipguys.com. Submit your own technical questions to questions@techtipguys.com.


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The Union Updated Mar 3, 2014 12:34AM Published Mar 3, 2014 12:34AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.