What to do if your PC is hacked by remote access scammers and how to avoid it in the future


How to secure a PC after a remote access scam and prevent future incidents?

I am concerned about the security of my mother’s PC after she fell victim to a remote access scam. She allowed the scammers to install TeamViewer and access her PC for hours, during which they visited some websites and filled out a loan application at a bank. I have removed TeamViewer, but I am not sure if they have left any backdoors or malware on the PC. Windows Defender and Malware Bytes did not detect anything suspicious.

I am considering using the Windows 10 option to reset the PC, which will reinstall Windows but delete all the files, settings, and apps, except for the ones that came with the PC. Is this the best way to ensure that the scammers no longer have access to the PC?

I also want to know how to prevent this from happening again in the future. My mother is not very tech-savvy and might fall for the same scam if they call her again. Is there a way to set up some parental control or restriction on her PC so that she cannot install anything without my approval?


Remote access scams are a common type of cybercrime, where fraudsters pretend to be from a reputable company or organization and trick unsuspecting victims into giving them access to their PCs. They may claim to be from Microsoft, Google, or your internet service provider, and offer to fix a problem, update your software, or refund your money. Once they have access to your PC, they can steal your personal and financial information, install malware, or demand ransom.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a remote access scam, you may be wondering how to secure your PC and prevent future incidents. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your data.

Step 1: Disconnect your PC from the internet

The first thing you should do is disconnect your PC from the internet as soon as you realize that you have been scammed. This will prevent the scammers from accessing your PC remotely and doing more damage. You can disconnect your PC from the internet by unplugging the ethernet cable, turning off the Wi-Fi, or switching off the router.

Step 2: Change your passwords

The next thing you should do is change your passwords for all your online accounts, especially those that contain sensitive information, such as your email, bank, social media, and shopping accounts. You should also enable two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible, which adds an extra layer of security to your login process. 2FA requires you to enter a code or a confirmation from another device, such as your phone, in addition to your password. This way, even if the scammers have your password, they cannot access your account without the code or confirmation.

Step 3: Scan your PC for malware

The third thing you should do is scan your PC for malware, which is malicious software that can harm your PC or compromise your data. Malware can include viruses, spyware, ransomware, trojans, and worms. The scammers may have installed malware on your PC during the remote access session, or they may have tricked you into downloading it yourself. You should use a reputable antivirus or anti-malware program to scan your PC and remove any malware that is detected. You should also update your antivirus or anti-malware program regularly to keep it up to date with the latest threats.

Step 4: Reset your PC

The fourth thing you should do is reset your PC, which will restore it to its original state and remove any traces of the scam. This is a drastic measure, but it may be necessary if you are not sure if your PC is completely clean and secure. Resetting your PC will reinstall Windows but delete all your files, settings, and apps, except for the ones that came with your PC. You should back up your important files to an external drive or a cloud service before you reset your PC, as you will lose them otherwise. You can reset your PC by following these steps:

  • Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.
  • Under Reset this PC, click Get started.
  • Choose Remove everything.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
  • Step 5: Educate yourself and others

    The fifth thing you should do is educate yourself and others about how to avoid and recognize remote access scams. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Never give remote access to your PC to anyone who calls you unsolicited, no matter who they claim to be or what they offer.
  • Never download or install any software or app that a caller asks you to, unless you are sure that it is from a trusted source.
  • Never give out your personal or financial information, such as your passwords, bank details, credit card numbers, or social security numbers, to anyone who calls you unsolicited.
  • Hang up the phone if you receive a suspicious call, and do not call back the number they provide. Instead, contact the company or organization they claim to be from using their official website or phone number.
  • Report the scam to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) in Canada, or the Action Fraud in the UK.
  • Conclusion

    Remote access scams are a serious threat to your PC and your data, but you can take steps to secure your PC and prevent future incidents. By disconnecting your PC from the internet, changing your passwords, scanning your PC for malware, resetting your PC, and educating yourself and others, you can protect yourself from these scams and avoid becoming a victim again.


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