Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Viruses and Telephone Warnings

April 1st has some folks worried about the conficker computer virus. I have 3 computers, 2 of which are PC’s. I’m unplugging them  from the internet today and tomorrow just to be careful. I think my Mac is okay, though. I make sure my computers have updated virus software because our business data and financial information is at stake so I hope that I’m not at risk. It may turn out that the worm won’t cause any problems for you but it may be setting you up by protecting itself and disabling your protection for a future attack where the hackers could use millions and millions of computers to attack the internet.


Every morning, the call comes in on my cell. I know it’s a computer generated call with the area code “866”. Before I answer any unknown caller, I get online and check out the area code. It’s good advice to follow. My niece works for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Anti-Fraud Call Centre.  She forwarded this information this morning and thought I should pass it on:

'Missed call' scam could put erotic chat charges on your phone bill

Ring, ring. (Silence.) Oops, you missed that call. Maybe you should call back and see if it was important.

Do not fall for this scam, especially if the number is in the 649 area, a U.S. group warns.

The warning is from MyWireless.org, a Washington-based advocacy group with ties to the U.S. telecommunications industry.

"Wireless companies have detected a pattern of calls that ring their customers' number once or twice and then disconnect," the group says in a statement.

"When the number appears on the customer's cellphone as a missed call, it appears to be a typical domestic three-digit phone number starting with the 649 area code."

Customers who return such calls may find themselves connected to an adult entertainment service, it says, "and end up being billed for expensive international call and chat line charges."

"MyWireless.org urges wireless consumers to always check an area code first before returning a call to an unknown caller. Be skeptical about area codes you don't recognize, especially: 649 (Turks and Caicos); 809 (Dominican Republic); 284 (British Virgin Islands); 876 (Jamaica); 758 (St. Lucia); or 664 (Montserrat)."

'If you return the call, you may be unwittingly putting money into the pockets of scam artists.'—U.S. Federal Trade Commission

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