A few years back, I had a new laptop and a week later got a call from some 'Microsoft' guy ....long story short> I had never heard about these scammers before. Yes, I was duped, duh! (hard lesson learned).
In 24 hours, I realized the error that I had made and performed a successful clean reinstall of Windows 8.1 on my new computer, never having done so before. Not only did I do it once but a week later did it again due to something that appeared unsettling to me at the time. I hoped to wipe out all the malware that the scammer had installed (lots). I even had support through another geek site that had me run all sorts of programs on it and in the end, he said that he could not find any malware on my computer. I also made sure that the Remote Access box was unchecked (found in the Systems page) in order to keep these creeps from accessing my computer without my knowing about it in the future. From time to time, I get nervous about the Remote Access and pull up the box to make sure that it is not checked. My laptop has been running smoothly since then and even upgraded to Windows10.
Today, over 2 years later, that “Microsoft” scammer, called me again and said that he was the “Refund Department” and eluded to the exact amount of money it had cost me to obtain their “Lifetime contract”....he wanted to give me my money back...I told him that I didn't believe anything he was saying. Because I wasn't cooperating, besides getting mad and calling me names, he threatened that if I didn't take my money back he would "terminate my computer" (what?!!!). He said that he would terminate all the computers I have but my husband's computer, which was on at the time, is still on with no issues. He said that the next time I turned my computer on, it would be terminated. I turned it off while he was babbling on, in hopes that it was a safe move. He also claimed that “we”, the scammers, are getting inside MY computer everyday (by remote access, I assume but I didn't believe him). I think he was just saying anything to get me to cooperate. Ultimately I hung up on him and he persisted in calling back several times but I did not answer.
My questions involving this situation are:
So my computer has been off since this afternoon. I don't have everything backed up, (the recent stuff) and would like to start it in Safe Mode in order to make a backup (that is doable in Safe Mode, isn't it?). How do I start in Safe Mode without booting first to the desk top (and then making some changes and restarting, like I have seen around the net). The next time I start it, I want it to go straight to Safe Mode without internet. I want to make sure the Remote Access box is unchecked, run a Scan with Malwarebytes and backup my drive, all in Safe Mode. Is booting up in Safe Mode a good choice to do under the circumstances?
When a computer starts and comes to the login window, is it safe in that zone? Is it connected to the internet? Has windows started at that point? Or not until I log in??
Regarding Remote Access: Can he still have access to my computer, even though I have that Remote Access box unchecked and since I clean reinstalled WIN8.1 several times plus upgraded to WIN10? Might he still have codes that were used 2 years ago that could allow him into my system? I remember them asking me for some numbers which at this point I don't recall what they were, but right after that the scammers were there on my desktop moving things around...Does reinstalling Windows make for different configurations or numbers?
Can he really terminate my computer at this point despite the precautions that I've taken??
FYI: I currently use, the paid version of Anti-Malwarebytes, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit and Windows Defender + Firewall.
As I said, I think he was just saying stuff off the top of his head and probably no longer has access to my computer, although, I just don't know how these things work. I feel more comfortable having someone help me walk through the steps of starting up my computer again, so am keeping the computer off for now and hopefully there is nothing wrong! Thanks for any help!
Macdoodle from the School of Hard Knocks