Table of Contents

The short version

  • Never call a number given to you in an email regarding refunds or mysterious purchases
  • Never allow anyone to remote into your computer unless you know them personally. 
  • Never call a number that shows up on the Internet while you are browing, claiming you are infected.
  • Never, ever pay anything to anyone at any time based on an email or Internet message. 
  • Never, ever open your online banking because someone told you to. 
  • If you allowed someone to remote into your computer, shut it down and bring it in, or at least call us.

What is "Hacking"?

Everyone thinks the've been "hacked". To determine that, formal definition must be agreed upon. 


The classic definition of hacking is to break into a computer either by sitting at the keyboard or remotely. The computer, phone, or tablet you use every day has little chance of being broken into unless you are tricked into letting someone remote into it. Otherwise, the chances of your personal device being "hacked" are exceedingly slim. 


When someone cannot log into their account or computer, the immediate thought is that they were hacked. They insist the password they wrote down on that rapidly fading postit note four years ago is correct. In reality, the password has been changed several times since then, but never updated on the note. This is, by far, the only reason you cannot log into an account. 

Real Hacking Scenarios

We do not minimize the possibility of some entity, like a business, being hacked. We have seen it first hand numerous times. Consider the following:

Scenario 1

  1. The same email and password is used to log into everything including email, Facebook, banking, instagram, and on and on including various places you purchase products and services. Our company vendor list has hundreds of entries over the last 30 years.
  2. Image one of those vendors is broken into. Most often due to an unknown security flaw or someone at the company was tricked into giving up their login details. 
  3. Because the same email and password is being used everywhere, the bad guys now have yoru email and password for all the places you log into. It's easy enough to log into your email provider, since its the same password, and start changing EVERYTHING. 

Moral of the story: Don't use the same passwords

Scenario 2

  1. You receive an email from your bank, email provider, or whomever, asking you to confirm your login information.
  2. You click the link and enter your email and password.
  3. The problem is, that was a fake login. You just gave your information to the scammers. 

Moral of the story: Don't log into anything based on an email link. Go directly to the website if needed.

Scenario 3

  1. You get an email saying you purchased something or you get a message saying you're infected. Either one asks you to call a number to fix the billing or the infection.
  2. You call the number and allow them to remote into your computer to "fix" the issue. From there they convince you to log into your bank account and start sending them money. Maybe that demand gift cards. 
  3. It's all completely fake. You never purchased anything and you are not infected. 

Moral of the story: Never call a number for anything, ever based on an email or website message. 

Scenario 4

  1. Your printer breaks down and you Google the company for a tech support number.
  2. Weirdly, they answer immediately and require that you let them log into your computer.
  3. From there they demand you pay them money, put a password on your computer, make you log into your banking account, etc, etc.

Moral of the story: Never, ever call a number based on a Google search. They're all fake. Go to the companies website.


In conclusion

Be insanely protective of anything personal. I would ask that everyone get off all social media, but I suspect that's a bridge too far in todays world. Instead, be an observer. Putting yourself out there is dangerous.


We have an article about scammers here with more information.


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