3 basic life skills:
- You don’t give your car keys or house keys to strangers.
- You only trust certain friends and family to look after your young children while you go out for dinner.
- You only let people fiddle with your computer you trust.
I mention the last one because there are increasing reports of unsolicited calls offering technical support some of whom pretend they are working for Microsoft. These are not going to be from Microsoft, they could legitimately be from a Microsoft partner trying to promote their services. However you might want to think about who you would trust to remotely manage your home PC with all your personal details on, credit card and direct debits, contact details. So find out who you are talking to and verify who they are – it won’t be Microsoft. You’ll only get a call from Microsoft if you’ve raised an incident with support in which case they’ll give you a reference which anyone else contacting you will be able to verify.
You also want to be sure people are who they say they are, so take a number and ring them back. I do this myself and so if my bank calls I won’t go through security, I offer to call them back to check I really am talking to them, it might confuse them but it’s my money.
I have had a few e-mails asking me what Microsoft is doing to prevent this:
- Firstly Microsoft can’t shut down this kind of activity as some of these calls could be a legitimate business looking to sell its services. The only thing you can do is register with the telephone preference service and hope that these businesses abide by it.
- Microsoft does regularly updates it Protect web site and the latest on this fraud issue is here.
- Try and identify the real fraudsters and work with authorities to shut them down.
So privacy and identity is and should be your own affair, and you need to protect your online identity in just the same way as you protect your children and your home.