Protect Yourself From Tech Support Scams
October 14, 2019
Protect Yourself From Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams are an industry-wide issue where scammers trick you into paying for unnecessary technical support services. You can help protect yourself from scammers by verifying that the contact is a Microsoft Agent or Microsoft Employee
and that the phone number is an official Microsoft global customer service number.
This utility can be used to check the Event Log for errors other than BSOD, many crash
Events will write to the Event Log.
MyEventViewer can be checked at the time of the BlueScreen (BSOD) to within a second
or so of the time of the BSOD to provide more information as to possible cause - see TIP.
MyEventViewer - Free - a simple alternative to the standard event viewer of Windows. TIP - Options - Advanced Filter allows you to see a time frame instead of the whole file -
set it to a bit before and after the time of the BSOD. http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/my_event_viewer.html
AppCrashView - Free - a small utility for Windows Vista and Windows 7 that displays
the details of all application crashes occurred in your system. The crashes information
is extracted from the .wer files created by the Windows Error Reporting (WER) component
of the operating system every time that a crash is occurred. AppCrashView also allows
you to easily save the crashes list to text/csv/html/xml file. http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/app_crash_view.html
What antivirus/antispyware/security products do you have on machine? Include any you have EVER
had on this machine including those you uninstalled (they leave remnants behind which can cause
To see all that is loading bootup - wait a few minutes without doing anything - then Right Click
TaskBar - Task Manager - take a look at Appplications - Processes - Services - this is a quick
reference (if you have a little box on Lower Left - Show for All Users then check that).
WhatsInStartUP - Free - This utility displays the list of all applications that are loaded automatically
when Windows starts up. For each application, the following information is displayed: Startup Type (Registry/Startup Folder), Command -Line String, Product Name, File Version, Company Name,
Location in the Registry or file system, and more. It allows you to easily disable or delete unwanted
programs that runs in your Windows startup. http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/what_run_in_startup.html
Window Watcher - Free - Do you know what's running on your computer? Maybe not. The Window
Watcher tells all, reporting every window created by every running program, whether the window
is visible or not. http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptwinwatch.asp
Consider this an absolute must - manually updating your drivers.
Vista and Windows 7 love updated drivers so here is how to update the major ones.
This is my generic how to for proper driver updates :
This utility makes it easy to see which versions are loaded :
DriverView - Free - utility displays the list of all device drivers currently loaded on your system.
For each driver in the list, additional useful information is displayed: load address of the driver,
description, version, product name, company that created the driver, and more. http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/driverview.html
For Drivers check System Maker as fallbacks and Device Maker's which are the most current.
Control Panel - Device Manager - Display Adapter - write down the make and complete model
of your video adapter - double click - Driver's tab - write down the version info. Now click UPdate
Driver (this may not do anything as MS is far behind certifying drivers) - then Right Click -
Uninstall - REBOOT this will refresh the driver stack.
Repeat that for Network - Network Card (NIC), Wifi, Sound, Mouse and Keyboard if 3rd party
with their own software and drivers and any other major device drivers you have.
Now go to System Maker's site (Dell, HP, Toshiba as examples) (as rollback) and then Device
Maker's site (Realtek, Intel, Nvidia, ATI as examples) and get their latest versions. (Look for
BIOS, Chipset and software updates at System Maker's site while there.)
Download - SAVE - go to where you put them - Right Click - RUN AD ADMIN - REBOOT after
Always check in Device Manager - Drivers tab to be sure the version you are installing actually
shows up. This is because some drivers rollback before the latest is installed (sound drivers
particularly do this) so install a driver - reboot - check to be sure it is installed and repeat as
Repeat at Device Makers - BTW at Device Makers DO NOT RUN THEIR SCANNER - check
manually by model.
If you update drivers manually then it is a good idea to disable Driver Installations in Windows
Updates, this leaves Windows Updates ON however it will not install drivers which will usually be
older and cause issues. If Updates suggests a new driver then HIDE it (Right Click on it) and then
go look for new ones manually if you wish.