That call is NOT coming from Apple!

Has this ever happened to you? Or will it happen to you?

It's late on a weeknight and your landline rings. Maybe it's a vaguely familiar local number on your Caller ID. It could be a friend, a relative, or maybe it's that call to tell you that you've just inherited an oceanfront estate from a distant octogenarian relative. You answer to find a friendly voice explaining that they are calling from Apple and as part of their fantastic service, they are alerting you to a terrible virus that may have infected your Mac. Okay. Stop right there and hang up the phone. We all need to remember--Apple or Microsoft, or Adobe, or any other software or hardware company, will never call. Let's face it, they don't want to talk to you unless, for instance, YOU call Apple Support for troubleshooting. Legitimate companies usually have extensive customer service numbers and while they may call you back if you've set up a callback through their websites, they will never call you cold just to check-in!

This scam has been around for years and many Microsoft users have been taken advantage of and are on to the scams, but the new target is Mac users. As soon as you allow remote access to your Mac or PC, you are putting your personal data files at risk. Occasionally, the scammers even infect your computer once they have gained access--"Hey! Look at all this horrible stuff we found. That will be $700 for our Level 4 security experts to remove." Or worse, they may copy files with financial data, or search for social security numbers. In rare cases, they leave behind key-logging software or spyware. But bad things can't get on your Mac or PC unless you're tricked into unlocking the door by bad folks.

If you get a call advising you that you have dangerous viruses, hang up and head over to a computer repair shop that can perform a virus scan for you. The best repair shops charge reasonable prices when they find something to remove. And if nothing is there, many don't charge anything. Either way, it's a lot less pain than if a scammer gets ahold of your personal data.