The 'Computer Repair Alert' Skype Scam Description
If you get a Skype call from someone who appears as "Computer Repair Alert," don't answer it. It isn't dangerous to answer the call itself, but the phone call is part of a scam. Whoever or whatever is on the other end of that call hopes to convince you that they have somehow – magically, apparently – detected an infection on your computer, which you can fix by downloading a "patch" or “update” from a specific website. If you do download whatever file or program the caller recommends, you are downloading a fake anti-virus program, which is malware. Obviously, you should ignore anything that you hear from this "Computer Repair Alert" caller.
What Happens During a Computer Repair Alert Call?
Generally, if you are using Skype with its default settings, you make it possible for people who you don't know to call you. So, when you get a call from Computer Repair Alert, it will show up like any other Skype call. There will not be any warning that a Computer Repair Alert call is coming, and nothing strange will happen with Skype itself. If you answer the call, you will most likely hear a recording of a computerized voice, which will allege that your PC is infected with a threat that possibly will affect several versions of Windows, and then Computer Repair Alert will tell you the web address for the phony fix to this nonexistent problem.
That's all there is to it. If you don't go to the site that the call mentions, you have nothing to worry about because the scam is simply trying to scare you. Even if you answer the call, and there is a person on the other end, which is extremely unlikely, and if they tell you that they have found a virus on your PC, they're lying. They don't have access to your computer, and they can't do anything to you. Getting a call from Computer Repair Alert means absolutely nothing as far as your computer is concerned. It does not mean your computer is infected with a virus or threatened by malware, and it does not mean that anyone has hacked anything of yours, or that your Skype account is in danger. These Computer Repair Alert calls are meant to scare you, so that you'll buy the fake security software they promote.
The Computer Repair Alert Skype calls are only an extension of an existing scam, in which PC users receive phone calls from people claiming to represent Microsoft, who say that they have detected an infection on the user's computer. The goal of these phone calls is the same as that of the Skype calls, which is to trick PC users into purchasing and downloading fake security software. People seem to be more concerned about the Computer Repair Alert calls, because they think that their Skype accounts are harder to call than regular phone numbers, which are often publicly available and can be dialed at random. However, it's very easy for someone to call you on Skype without knowing you, and they don't have to hack your account to do it.
How Can a Complete Stranger Call You on Skype?
First of all, if you have a Skype profile, most of the contents of that profile are public, and they can be viewed by anyone else with a Skype account. That makes it easy for anyone else on Skype to know that you have an account and try to call you. Also, whenever you have your Skype status set to SkypeMe, anyone can call you, because all of your privacy settings are suspended while Skype is in that mode. All it takes for someone to call you, in that case, is for them to have your email address. Consider, for example, that recently, someone hacked into the system of a company that manages outgoing emails for a huge number of major US retailers, and this hacker obtained the email addresses of millions of people. The major concern over this event, since the only information stolen was email contact information, was that these addresses might be used in a phishing scam – like this one. In light of recent events, it is at least theoretically possible that the reason that you are getting a call from a con-artist is that they know your email address. All of that aside, just think about how often you get spam email!
In order to keep yourself safe on Skype, make sure your privacy settings only allow people on your Contacts list to call you, IM you, etc. Also, make sure that the option for "Allow my online status to be shown on the web" is not checked, and be careful about how you use SkypeMe mode. In the end, the Computer Repair Alert call is only a call, and Computer Repair Alert doesn't have to be anything more than that.