Many of you may be aware of this scam as a result of being a victim and/or know someone that has been a victim. I have found that the criminals who work this scam have a tendency to target our more elderly computer users through scare tactics. The scammers will either call you on the telephone to tell you they are Microsoft and that they have detected a problem with your computer AND/OR you will be working on your computer (typically on the internet) and will get a popup alerting you that there are problems with your computer and that you need to call Microsoft (or a tech support number) at such and such phone number.
Whether it is by telephone or on your computer, PLEASE avoid falling for this scam. If these scammers (criminals) do call you on the telephone, be prepared for subsequent calls where they will try again and/or will change the scam to something else.
My recommendation is to never answer your phone unless you can positively identify the caller. If you cannot positively identify the caller, let it ring through to voicemail.
To learn more about how this scam works and what the scammers try to extract from you, here is information “word for word” from Microsoft:
Cybercriminals don’t just send fraudulent email messages. They might call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. They might also setup websites with persistent pop-ups displaying fake warning messages and a phone number to call and get the “issue” fixed. They might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. 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 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.
“Remember, Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication we have with you must be initiated by you.”