Don’t fall for the Microsoft ‘tech support’ scam!

phonescamMy wife received an interesting call today from someone claiming to be from Microsoft technical support.  According to them our computers had contacted because we needed technical support.

Of course it’s a scam, but one that people (particularly older people) get taken in with all the time.

For the uninitiated, the scam involves someone (usually from India) calling and saying that they are representatives from Microsoft technical support. They then tell the victim that their computer is running slowly because of viruses or because they need an additional piece of software — at a cost, of course. It’s been floating around for almost as many years as the Nigerian money transfer scam and is still going strong.

Once a person buys into the scam they take them through a number of steps showing them files and error messages on their computer (every computer has error messages if you know where to look) and then they sell the victim “technical support” or an “extended warranty”.   This will involve several steps:

  • Taking control of your PC
  • Watching as you enter your bank account and credit card details into an online payment (the online payment – usually around $299 – is real)
  • Trashing your PC or, in some cases, installing malicious software on your PC so that they can continue to exploit you after the call is over

If you want to see what happens you can watch the video on the Malwarebytes website – via What happens if you play along with a Microsoft ‘tech support’ scam?  Spoiler alert – they end by calling him names and trashing his PC.

Unfortunately it is often the elderly that fall for this the most, so do yourselves a favor and tell your older relatives to contact you before they make online payments or install software from cold callers.  A little time spent on the phone with them could save everyone from an enormous amount of hassle in the future.

Any legitimate company will happily give a call back number and wait while you check with people.  And if you’re really not sure then post a comment below letting me know what is going on and I’ll get back to you.

 

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3 Comments

Filed under Online Security

3 responses to “Don’t fall for the Microsoft ‘tech support’ scam!

  1. Fuck! I fucking fell for this. Fuck. The guy called me today from a private number on my home phone. He said he was from windows tech support and that they had been getting various error messages from my computer. AND I FUCKING BELIEVED HIM LIKE THE IDIOT THAT I AM. I followed all of his intructions: i turned on my computer, looked up the supposed grave error messages (which are apparently harmless error messages that are very common) and then downloaded a FUCKING REMOTE ACCESS PROGRAM AND GAVE HIM CONTROL!! FUCK!! He then showed me more error messages and said that if i didnt do anything then my laptop could crash. I only caught on when he asked me if i wanted him to get rid of the problem because i assumed that would need some special program that would COST MONEY. So while he was showing me the “damage” i googled “why is windows calling me” on my phone and there in the very first link i saw the EXACT same conversation and stuff that was happening to me. I quicky made an excuse and promised that i would call back. He gave me a number (which i expect is fake, im not going to see if it is): 4246536991
    I really cant believe i was so stupid. Thank jesus i caught on before giving away any private info but the matter still is that I GAVE HIM REMOTE ACCESS TO MY LAPTOP LIKE AN IDIOT!! FUCK!
    Is there any chance he could have downloaded something to my computer without my knowledge or still have access to it even thought i deleted the program after hanging up and using cc cleaner twice? What should i do?! Any help would be really appreciated please?

    • Sorry to hear that but glad you got out before anything serious happened.

      It’s possible that something was downloaded but unlikely as you would have been watching him install it. But better safe than sorry.

      If you don’t have anti-virus installed then check this link out: https://computerwhisperer.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/free-anti-virus-the-best-way-to-protect-your-pc/

      More importantly, did they have you fill in credit card details on a screen while they were watching? If so then you should call that credit card company and cancel that card immediately.

      Best of luck!

      • Thanks for replying so fast.
        I didn’t see him install anything apart from the remote access program, which i downloaded from his instructions, and i stopped everything before he had a chance to take to me about a payment. I do have an anti-virus so hopefully that will be enough.
        Thank you so much for your aid, i really appreciate it.

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