Beware of those Microsoft phone scams! There isn’t just spam phone calls going around a lot these days, but flat-out scams that seem very real but are completely fake.
We’ve been recently getting a lot of calls from people who have supposedly been called directly from “Microsoft Support” or “Windows Support” or something like that. They call talking about how they received reports from your computer saying that there’s something wrong or that it’s infected and it needs to be cleaned up and fixed. They will then proceed to get you to agree to allow them to remotely login to your computer and ‘fix’ the ‘problems’.
Please beware, this is completely fake and a big scam! Nobody from Microsoft is going to call you or even know that there is something wrong. Your computer doesn’t send out messages or anything of the sort that there are problems like that nor does Microsoft care if there is. All these people are trying to do is get you to allow them into your computer so they can truly infect it and then force you to pay them to remove it (or something similar along those lines).
The best defense is to always be caucious on who you trust, who you talk to, and what information you give out. Though companies like ours may occassionally ask to remotely login to your PC to try and help fix a problem, it is only after you have called us when you yourself see such a problem and only after you agree and allow us in to legitimately do something. Please be careful in everyone you say or do over the phone and try not to be too gullible as it’s so easy to believe and get sucked in.
Common things that may be said or requested in such calls (quoting from Microsoft’s website):
Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:
- Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
- Convince you to visit legitimate websites (like www.ammyy.com) to download software that will allow them to take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
- Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
- Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.
Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:
- Windows Helpdesk
- Windows Service Center
- Microsoft Tech Support
- Microsoft Support
- Windows Technical Department Support Group
- Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)
If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you:
- Do not purchase any software or services.
- Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
- Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
- Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.
More information on these particular scams can be found directly from Microsoft here.