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Thursday, November 26, 2015

PSA: "Microcoft Calling" Scam

We interrupt Thanksgiving to bring you this message: Indian "Tech Support" Scam Catches My Wife. Read it. Now. Don't fall for this scam!

I've gotten this call, and so has former blogger The Merry Widow.


  1. This is a very good site ...

    ... does a good job of posting up to date articles on what's the latest in the computer scam world.

  2. Very easy to avoid. NEVER click on or respond to an email from anyone you don't know. PERIOD!

  3. All ya gotta know....
    Never respond to a phoneor a ialog box appearing on your PC telling yoiu something is amiss. In fact if it's a dialog box, don't even click the upper right "x" to close the window. That click could initiate the download of malware (democrat software) to your PC.
    Press Control/Alt/Delete all at the same time. Select Tack manager from the menu that appears. Click on the name of your browser that you were using. Click End Task. (Or hold the physical start button on your computer in until the thing shuts off) In either case, decline to have your browser restore all your tabs when restarted.

    Best thing to do is this, Buy a couple external drives. Always have one of them disconnected to your computer and the power supply. Buy some System Image Creation software, such as Acronis. Create system images on a regular basis to the external drive. Alternating the external drive.

    If you get malware on your PC, simply restore an image backup that your are confident in to you computer. Done.

    It is impossible to remove today's malware from your system.

    1. Excellent advice.
      Macrium Reflect is free, however, to home users, and excellent.

    2. Good deal. Microsoft (Windows 7) also has a Create System Image function within their Control Panel/Backup and Restore item. But it doesn't create historical images. You do need the ability to go back a ? to get back to a clean image.

      I haven't heard of Macrium Reflect but heck yea - Nothing wrong with free stuff. I use AVG Free virus software and it seems to work well.

    3. Ed, Thanks again, I downloaded that Macrium and am going to give it a test run.

  4. _________ Cyber Blues _______

    Remember the lovely days of old,
    When you could buy an appliance
    Without tech support or geek alliance 
    And could be so bold
    As just to lug it in 
    From the cold
    Then plug it in
    Then employ it, 
    And enjoy it,
    Till it finally got covered with mold?


    1. Geek appliances? I'm dreading the day when I have to replace this old dial-type microwave with a digital one!

  5. Ed and Kid,
    I have no idea what you two are discussing! **sigh**

  6. A Hungarian names Stelian Pilici runs this excellent website for dealing with Malware on your computer:

    Malware Tips

  7. We used to get calls from those same scammers. I enjoyed playing around with them. One time I told them I had no microsoft computers, just Linux. They told me to wait, and then someone else came on the phone and announced "Linus Support!"

    I finally told them, look, I realize Americans make big, fat, stupid, rich targets, so I don't blame you for doing the shakedown where all the money's at, but I ain't that stupid, so please write down my phone # and make a note that you're wasting your time on me. I could hear them laughing in the background. They never called back.

  8. AOW, An image backup is a mirror image of your PC hard drive saved to another location, usually an external drive, and in my case at least, 2 external drives where one is alternately unplugged (so that really serious malware can't get to it to damage it too. Should bad things happen, you can then restore this saved image of your hard drive back to your PC hard drive, eliminating whatever democrat inspired destruction occurred to your computer and pick up where you left off just a day or a few days ago. MUCH better than reinstalling all your software and resetting all your personal settings, etc,etc. Even if you could remove malware, it would take a lot longer than restoring your PC to what it was yesterday, or whenever.

    1. PS, Even if you are not confident of restoring your image in the event, there is still value in creating them. You can then call someone with computer skills and say My PC is trashed with malware, but I have image backups, can you fix me? That person will smile and say Heck Yea !

  9. "Charley" called me this morning.
    I'm afraid he got an earful.

    I just got through straightening my laptop out after a "fatal" crash. Wouldn't even let me sign in!

  10. AOW said: "What caused your laptop's crash?"

    I'm not 100% sure.

    This laptop came with Windows 8 and a bunch of extra software which I didn't really want. I removed some of it, checked some of it out and ignored some more of it. About that time it started nagging me to upgrade to Windows 10 and I decided to go ahead and allow it.

    Everything seemed ok and I decided to get rid of the trial versions of security software and install my regular freeware products that you and I both normally use. The next day I was prompted to install a security update/upgrade from Microsoft but the installation went wrong and I had to finally shutdown to get out of the looping installation.

    When I attempted to restart it wouldn't even let me sign in, it just continuously looped to the startup splash screen and tried to restart again.

    As near as I can tell, there were two firewalls running at the same time and when I downloaded the update it corrupted the execute file which made the computer go perquackey.

    It seems that one of the free trial anti-virus program starts itself and puts up a firewall that won't let you shut it down but its not obvious unless you reopen the software to see if its on or off. I uninstalled it!

    1. Warren,
      Windows 8 is terrible!

      One of my tech savvy clients recently warned me NOT to upgrade from my OS (Windows 7). I can't recall all his reasoning, but the warning was stern. He likes Windows 10, but said that it contained too many programs that I'd never use because he knows that I'm just not interested in gaming and managing all sorts of audio files.

  11. AOW, I don't like windows 10, and hate windows 8. I'm on Win7. When I go off Win7, it will be to a Mac machine. Apple.

    1. Kid,
      Windows 7 is my favorite OS thus far.

    2. I used Linux for quite some time but it seems that most of the former Linux developers are shifting their efforts to I-phone stuff and tablets. The rest seem to be over the hill socialists who are anti-intellectual property rights or believe that everyone should get free crap from anyone that has it (Nostradumbass types). XP is abandoned as will be all of the later OSs and 7 and 8 users will be forced into 10 and its later versions.

      Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated!

      8 sucks, it tries to imitate Android and hide your desktop. My main graphics program that I put so much time and effort into is useless and I can't afford Photoshop and don't have the time to learn it.

    3. Warren,
      Your main graphics program is useless??? The graphics program that does animated graphics?

    4. I was referring to the program I used to create the book in your banner.

      The program I used to create the IBA banner (and others) isn't supported by the parent company anymore. As it is a swf/flash creation program, it will become useless as older versions of flash become no longer supported on the Internet.

      I still have the programs on the XP desktop that my son built for me and I can use GIMP to do most of the things I did with PSP (which was my main graphics program) if not as easily or quickly.

      A fourth program I used to create GIFs (smaller animations and effects like transparency of the background in your header and the sparkle in the axman's ax and the red glow in his eyes) is an add-on to what I consider my main program and will not work without it.

    5. Warren,
      I will hate the day that the IBA banner disappears!

      Will axman's ax and the red glow stay put?

  12. The axman is safe as well as the AOW banner.

    They are both "GIF" files which have a format that is pretty well set and unchanged since its inception. The banner at IBA is a "SWF" file (also known as flash) and subject to change in order to optimize its visual aspects as well as compress its bandwidth because of it relatively large size.


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