Risks of Allowing Remote Access to Your PC
By Leo Notenboom
About a year ago, I took out a lifetime subscription to SUPERAntiSpyware and I have used it without any problems until the last ten days or so. Now, I find that I am unable to activate the scan feature; I click on it just I have done for the past year, but nothing happens. I called the phone number listed on my receipt, but there was no answer and I wonder if you know whether or not they have gone out of business.
I am not particularly worried about this as there are other applications that I can download. However I thought I would let you know what happened when I went to their website.
I called a number that I thought was the support center and was immediately connected with a technician who skillfully asked my permission to allow him access to my computer so that he could diagnose the problem and I agreed. After he informed me that I had over a thousand errors that needed to be erased and that he could do this for me for only $250.00 I realized that this was some kind of scam and I promptly ended the call. What kind of risk have I exposed myself to?
I have windows Vista and my computer is about six years old. Thank you for all you do and keep the answers coming.
First, good on you for terminating that call. While it may have obviously been a scam to you and me, I’m sure that many people are falling for it.
To the best of my knowledge, SUPERAntiSpyware is alive and well. However, the approach you took to contact them is worth reviewing. Sometimes, finding appropriate contact information can be confusing and in some situations, it can lead to questionable territory, as you’ve seen.
But the big question is … you let a stranger with clearly malicious intent use your machine remotely. Just how worried do you now need to be?
The bad news is that there’s no clear answer.
I’ve never used SUPERAntiSpyware, but I’ve heard it mentioned from time to time and it appears to have a good reputation.
The website – http://www.superantispyware.com/ – is most certainly up. Their blog is woefully out of date, but I do see current posts by “SAS Customer Service” in their support forum, which I take as a good sign of life.
But that leads us to the approach best taken to find support.
“First, understand that telephone support is rare, even for many paid products. ”
You started with the phone number on your receipt. That’s typically not what I would start with for a couple of reasons.
A phone number on a purchase receipt is typically completely unrelated to product support. More often, it’s a number specifically about billing questions or questions relating to the actual process of purchasing the product, not using it.
It’s extremely common that the actual sale of the product is handled by a completely different company than the company that manufactures it. This is particularly true of software downloads. The phone number listed may not even be for the company that you really want to talk to. And of course, if the payment processor changes or goes out of business, old phone numbers can sometimes lead to new and less than appropriate places.
My approach to finding support comes at it from a completely different angle.
This post is excerpted with permission from Leo Notenboom.