This was inevitable: the subhuman phone scammers who pretend to be calling from Microsoft (or Telstra or whoever) and falsely claim they have detected a problem on your computer as a pretext for installing malware while charging you for it have now started targeting owners of smartphones and tablets. I guess the scam industry has to reflect sales trends.
Pond scum picture from Shutterstock
The ACCC’s SCAMwatch service notes that the “we need to fix your phone too” is a new addition to the repertoire:
In a new twist, scammers are claiming to be able to fix similar viruses on people’s smartphones or tablets. As with the previous version, the scammer will ask you to grant them remote access to your computer, however they will also ask you to connect your mobile device to the computer so that they can access the device through it.
Lifehacker readers (particularly the tech professionals) aren’t going to fall for this rubbish, but it’s worth warning less-savvy friends and family. If you do receive such a call and you’re in a hurry, hang up. If not, feel free to waste their time by stringing them along: it stops them calling others.