Over the last few days, I've received several curious phone calls from a number Caller ID'ed as 980-445-2966, but there was no one at the other end. Yesterday afternoon a voice finally answered my initial greeting – the voice of a scammer.
I was told his company, "Windows IT Care," had found – by what means, a mystery – my PC was chock-full of viruses that could crash my system. I patiently explained to him the impossibility of his knowing my PC's virus-filled status since I had never heard of his company and especially since I didn't have a Windows PC. I have a Mac. He quickly asserted they had an Apple/Mac department.
I asked him for his credentials – a Web address, a snail mail address, something. He said he was calling from California, but while on the phone I checked and discovered 980 is a Charlotte, North Carolina-area exchange.
His ultimate goal was to get me to let him monitor my PC via software from Team Viewer, a perfectly legitimate screen-sharing program used by support companies and corporate meeting types, for what nefarious eventual goal I can only begin to fathom since I never let it get that far.
A quick Google search of 980-445-2966 yielded a raft of similar stories on numerous message boards dating back to last November. Some posters say the guy calls himself "Jason" or "Steve Smith" representing "Microsoft IT" or Microsoft tech support.
His pitch is deceptive and scary – but don't believe it. It's a complete phone scam. I have reported the call to the Federal Trade Commission, then did something I should have done a long time ago – placed my phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Please don't be fooled by this seemingly legitimate and scary scammer. If your phone rings and the number 980-445-2966 is displayed on your phone's caller ID, feel free to ignore it and, if possible, block it. Generally speaking, never let anyone gain control of your PC unless they're from a legitimate, customer service department from a well-known company that you've called.
Or if ANYONE calls claiming to know there's something wrong on your PC and asks to take control of your PC to show you, get as much information as you can and report the call to the authorities.