Karen's computer got taken over by a scammer who convinced her that he was from AOL when she was having trouble with her account. Leo says that gaining control of her computer remotely likely gave him that control and the only thing she can do is backup her data, format her hard drive, and reinstall windows from a known, good source. If one needs help from AOL, contact them directly here - https://help.aol.com/products/new-aol-desktop
It's tax time and Leo says that this is the time of year for what's called the "IRS Tax Scam." Users may get an email or voicemail with a warning that the police are coming to arrest you unless you pay your tax bill. Don't fall for it. The IRS will not contact you via voicemail, email or text message. The IRS only uses the US Mail.
According to a recent study funded by Google, 15% of users have reported that their email or social media account was taken over due to phishing scams. Leo says that over 25 million users were bit by an email phishing scam, while about 35,000 were victim to keystroke loggers. Leo says that this is the season for scams and that users may get emails from the "IRS" or even phone calls demanding personal information. It's always a scam and users shouldn't fall for it.
Melissa keeps getting phone calls saying they're from AT&T and that their account had been suspended. Leo says that's the latest scam. They'll even spoof AT&T's number! And after the first of the year, it'll be the IRS. They'll want to scare her so she can act without thinking. They'll then ask for her date of birth, social security number (which is illegal to ask for) and once they have all that, they have her.
Cynthia cut the cord for a Roku about eight months ago. Now everything has stopped working and she has to pay to turn it back on. Rich says that Cynthia may have been bit by a phishing scam. He suggests having the credit card company charge it back. She shouldn't have to pay to reauthorize the box. She'll pay for the subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. But not for the box itself since she already bought it. Then she should do a factory reset on the Roku. That will make it work like the first day she bought it. She should try to watch out for scams in the future.
Brad's mother has been getting calls from "Microsoft" saying that her computer may be hacked. Is that legit? Leo says it's a scam. They use a robot dialer to randomly call numbers out of the phone book and will try and get victims to install something or give them remote access to the computer. Once they have that, the game is up. Microsoft will NEVER call you.
Lisa went to a website and she got a pop up notification that her computer was infected and to call an 800 number to Microsoft. Leo says not to ever call them -- just exit the popup and move on. It's not infected and those popups are designed to insnare users. It's called a phishing scam. Lisa did it anyway, though, and gave them control of a computer. Leo says that's bad news because she doesn't really know what the hacker's done. He can install viruses on her or turn it into a bot, a keystroke logger, and use remote access to turn on her camera.
Kathleen's elderly Aunt has a Windows computer which she uses to access Facebook and then Outlook for email. Her problem is that she has had a ton of malware and phishing scams that have cost her a lot of money. Leo says that the elderly have always been easy prey to scam artists. It won't happen on a Chromebook though, and she should really have her get one. Leo says to be her administrator and give her a regular user account. But even at the end of the day, that won't stop her from calling a number.
Jennifer's computer has been displaying a message that her computer has been blocked unless she calls a number. Leo says it's probably a popup from the browser. There's nothing wrong with her computer -- it's a scam. She should just clear her browser cache, then reboot the computer and it should be fine.
Mike wants to know how to tell a real email from a phishing email. Leo says to hover over any link that would send him to a website, and see if the link is legitimate. He should never click on it. If it says to install something, or even asks for a credit card, don't do it. That's usually the first sign of an intent to do something nefarious.