Warning: If you get a phone call advising that your computer has been sending notifications that is has a virus, do not believe it. Just hang up!
A co-worker fell for a scam a few weeks ago - he got a telephone call from an organization telling him his computer had a bad virus. They led him through the steps to download malware and took over his machine and stole his identity. He didn't remember just what they said (I wanted to know what the ruse was).
Today, I got the same call. I've been mucking with computers for 20 years, so I played along to see what the scheme is (I was confident I could tell when he would go for the kill).
Here's how it worked (there's some Windows jargon below - even if you aren't familiar with the terminology you'll get the idea):
1) The caller had what I took as an Indian accent. There was a lot of background noise, as if it was a boiler room operation.
2) A man introduced himself as from the "Windows Service Department." and advised me that they had been getting messages from my computer suggesting that it had been corrupted.
3) He then walked me through the steps steps to open the Windows Event Viewer (press this button, click on that, type "Eventvwr", etc) and told me that the warnings and errors I saw meant that my computer had been attacked (and was actually in bad shape, since I saw maybe 20 warnings). I was shocked, shocked I tell you! Note: There is no truth in what he said - there are almost always warnings and errors in the event viewer.
[I think he then switched me to a different person - I was on hold for a few moments and then another male with a slightly different voice resumed the call. I could be wrong.]
4) He then had me open the list of Windows Services and had me count how many were stopped. I told him 26. He then told me that as more and more got stopped that my computer would slow down and eventually crash. I began feeling [not] panicky! Again, there is no truth here. There are stopped services on every Windows machine.
5) Based on this "bad" news, he wanted my to type a URL into the "run" box on my start menu. This moment is when I stopped following his instructions. I won't type the whole URL here, but it started with "MSSUPPORT."
At this time, I feigned a lost phone connection and hung up. He called back and said we must have been disconnected. I asked who employed him. He said "Pan Global Enterprises." I questioned his legitimacy. His response: "If I'm not legitimate, how would I know about the errors and warnings?" (spoiler alert: every Windows machine out there has similar errors and warnings - that's just the way it is.)
I asked him not to call me back and that was that.
2:49 PM PT: It's my first time on the recommended list! I'd like to thank the scammers that made it possible. Without you, I wouldn't be where I am now.