Over the past few months, we at Wisp have encountered a few clients who have had some strange (and at times terrifying) experiences with some Facebook crooks. These scammers may not have infected a computer with a Facebook virus, but they definitely were up to no good. While each instance was unique, they all had similar themes and were fixed with a thorough virus removal/malware scan at Wisp.
Our clients told us that they attempted to login to Facebook and it either looked different than it normally does or it told them their password doesn’t work. They were then redirected to a “Help” page that includes a phone number to call to “Reset your password” or “Get help with Facebook.” Some clients did an online search through Google, Yahoo or Bing and were directed to a “help” page. Unfortunately, what most do not realize is that he or she did not access the official, legitimate Facebook at http://www.facebook.com. After calling and getting connected to a person that is supposed to help walk a client through resetting/fixing your Facebook, they were prompted to allow the person on the phone to remote access your computer.* We have had clients that have been prompted to use www.logmein.com and join.me*.
Once the scammer had access to their computer, they took control of the computer and “scanned for problems” or “located the issue.” From there, they require a large sum of money to clean the computer or otherwise fix the Facebook issue. Clients have told us anywhere from $199 to $399. At this point, our clients have declined that service or asked for time to think about whether or not they want to spend that much money. After disconnecting from the phone call, the scammer once again logs into your computer. Several of our clients had web cameras and the scammers turned it on and intimidated them by showing them they had full control of your computer.
We can’t imagine how scary that is! Having someone access your computer that you thought was helping you and then using your web camera to intimidate you - terrifying.
Here are our recommendations for this type of problem and how you can prevent your computer from be infected with viruses and/or being remote accessed by a scammer.
1. Always check to ensure you are accessing the correct and valid website you are looking for. In this instance, http://www.facebook.com.
2. If you can’t remember your Facebook password, reset it here: https://www.facebook.com/login/identify?ctx=recover
3. If Facebook looks strange (different colors, not showing your account, the browser window isn’t how it normally looks) try to log out and close the browser. Attempt to login from http://www.facebook.com. If at this point you are still unable to login to the official Facebook website, contact us at Wisp for more help, you may have a virus, malware or spyware problem.
4. Do not allow anyone to remote access your computer unless you trust them 100% with your information. Wisp utilizes remote access in cases where our clients are not in the area but still want us to remove viruses or configure settings. This is a valid way to utilize remote access.
5. If you feel your computer has been accessed with bad intentions or your computer is acting suspicious (lots of pop up windows, unable to connect to the internet, unable to use certain web browsers or otherwise slow and lagging), bring your computer in for a Free Diagnosis with Wisp.
We will scan your computer for viruses, remove viruses, remove malware, spyware and bloatware (those trial versions of programs or pre-installed programs just taking up valuable computer space). We will then perform a through removal of all the viruses and malware on your computer. Our technicians will also install a free, reputable anti-virus and ensure that your computer is being protected.
*Remote access is a legitimate resource for many technology issues. Remote access should only be used by an individual or company you completely trust. Logmein.com and Join.me are safe, helpful ways to allow a professional to access your computer from a distance. Unfortunately, individuals with bad intentions use these services as well.