The world is full of scams and unfortunately people fall victim to them daily. We are all used to the Nigerian million dollar scam where they send you an email promising you millions in exchange for your bank details. Unbelievable that people divulge this information so easily, even my wife struggles to get mine.
A telephone scam that I have recently heard about is quite worrying and I have already met someone locally who fell victim to it. The scam begins with a telephone call (usually from an Indian sounding chap) telling you that they are from Microsoft (I can assure you Microsoft do not ring you at home) and they have detected a problem with your windows computer. Now, chances are that most households have a windows computer and they are just hoping that you have one so the scam can begin. The best thing you can do is remember that Microsoft will not call you and hang up the call. No damage done. Unfortunately, not everyone is technically minded and may well believe the ploy. Here are some things they can do to scam you.
- 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.
- 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.
Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.
If your computer is working normally and you receive a Microsoft support scam call, ask them if there is a fee involved. If they say yes, just decline and hang up. Don’t allow them to guide you through any process on your computer. They will show you a screen in the windows administration services that makes it appear that you are at risk. I have included a sample of what you may be shown below (click the image to see a larger version). This is no reason to let anyone access your computer or ask for credit card details.
If you think you may be a victim of this Microsoft support scam Microsoft advises changing all your passwords for email accounts, bank accounts, etc. If you have given out credt card details I would contact your bank immediately and stop the cards to try and prevent any further transactions. I would also recommend downloading and installing a free security program such as MalwareBytes Anti Malware Free Edition and performing a full scan of your computer.
If you are not confident about checking the security of your computer I would recommend taking it to a local computer repair shop to get it checked out.