Monday, December 9, 2013

Scam - Beware of Phone Call from "Windows Support"

Over the past few weeks I have received several phone calls from individuals claiming to be from Microsoft, Windows Company, or Windows Support.  The Indian-accented voice addresses me by name and asks if I am the main user of my computer.  I have responded in many ways . . . getting angry, replying to them in Spanish, and lately, letting them speak for a minute and then using my handy-dandy duck call to give them a splitting headache!

Why would I be so rude to someone who is only trying to help?  That answer lies in the fact that these friendly folk are only trying to make their way into my pocketbook by way of my computer!  These dudes don't work for Microsoft, Windows, or any other legitimate company.  (Believe me, Microsoft has a hard time responding to incoming support requests, let alone having time to initiate outgoing calls!)

They start by asking how you are doing, and how well you are enjoying your computer.  They then tell you that they have scanned your computer and have discovered "viruses" on your computer that need to be removed.  To "prove" the existence of viruses, they talk you through viewing your computer's event log and count how many red and yellow-flagged item there are.  They then tell you that these items are from viruses and are responsible for slowing down your computer.  Fact is, any Windows computer in use for any length of time will log some critical errors and experience some slowdowns.  They then guide you through viewing the msconfig window.  One of the tabs will show all the processes installed on the computer from Microsoft and other software vendors.  They ask you to see how many processes are turned off, and use this a "proof" that viruses are shutting down critical computer functions.

For their final act, they talk you into viewing the "prefetch" directory, a hidden folder that is not normally viewed.  This folder contains system installation files, all with cryptic names.  They tell you that these are actual virus files and cannot be removed.  They ask you to count them . . . you will be well over 100 files before they stop you and tell you how badly "infected" your machine is!

Now that they have gained your confidence, they ask you to access a website and download a remote access program that will give them direct control to start removing the viruses.  In doing this, you will be giving them the ability to download actual malware and completely cripple your machine.  The final act is to ask for your credit card or bank account information in order to "renew" your warranty (for life!) and allow them to fix your horrible problem . . .

Today it is known as "Social Engineering" . . . but it is really just a modern-day version of the old "confidence game" . . . which is where the term "con-man" came from!

For legitimate technical support you can trust be sure to call Brad Bradford, At Your Service!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Extend Your "Brand" With Social Media Marketing

It seems like everybody in today's world has "friends" on Facebook.  Many of us follow "tweets" on Twitter.  Professional folk are LinkedIn with one another.  People share their vacation videos with the world on YouTube.  You can find someone to buy Mom's old Pontiac through Craigslist, and most of that stuff in your attic can find a new owner using eBay.

Websites that connect people with other folk of similar interest are known collectively as "social media" sites.  Sharing user-generated content over the internet is not a brand-new idea.  Many of us started out with the old text-based AOL or Genie chat rooms back in the '80s.  Teenagers who used MySpace in the early 2000s are now young adults who not only have an appetite for consumer goods and services, but also make their purchasing decisions based on information shared with and delivered to them through social media outlets.

According to Nielsen's Social Media Report 2012, Internet users in the United States spent a collective 121 billion minutes on social media sites in July of 2012.  In July of 2011, that figure stood at 88 billion minutesfor a one-year increase in social media usage of 37 percent! 

Considering the marketing opportunity for your business, social media sites have unlimited potential to deliver your company's advertising message directly to the computer and smart phone screens of thousands of local users and potential customers.  The best part of this marketing strategy is in its cost: practically free!   Establishing your social media presence takes a little time and regular posting keeps your message moving.  Unlike newspaper, television, radio, and Yellow Pages, there is no cost for using the service or web site!

Give Brad Bradford a call if you would like more information or assistance in establishing a social media presence as part of your marketing strategy.  "Like" us on Facebook by clicking here!  Or, you can contact us through our web site,

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Here's One Reason Why I Recommend Dell Computers

Recently, one of my clients asked me to order a Dell Vostro 270 PC for them.  Dell, in their usually efficient manner, built the computer to the client's specifications and shipped it two days ahead of their originally promised ship date.  Sadly, the computer was DOA - Dead on Arrival at my office!  (Never before had I experienced that fate with a Dell!)  I worked with a support technician via telephone to determine that yes, in fact, the computer was a large, handsome, paperweight.  But, this is just where the real story begins . . .

Within 48 hours of my service call, Dell had another machine built and passed it along to Fed-Ex for overnight delivery on December 22nd, with no extra charge for the shipping upgrade!  Even with the complete application of Murphy's Law (a weekend, Christmas holiday, and a winter storm closing the Fed-Ex Memphis hub for two days) we were only "fashionably late" on the client delivery!

Dell goes the extra mile to support their product - just one of many reasons I specify and recommend their products for my valued clients!  Be sure to stop by our web site at or call Brad today!