Though we covered this in a blog post in May in much more detail, after seeing another report on TV of people falling victim, or very close to being one, of a telephone scam making the rounds, supposedly from Microsoft, it’s time to revisit this issue.
It deserves to be reiterated that NO legitimate or reputable company will ever call you out of the blue saying they want to remotely check your computer for problems. The problem is, people trust big brands like Microsoft, and the scammers rely on this fact, and sound very convincing, so when they say they’re calling from a company like Microsoft, less people question it.
“The scam works by criminals posing as computer security engineers and calling people at home to tell them they are at risk of a computer security threat,” Microsoft said Thursday. “The scammers tell their victims they are providing free security checks and add authenticity by claiming to represent legitimate companies and using telephone directories to refer to their victims by name.”
Their goal, in fact, is NOT to fix your computer, but to steal information from your computer and make a mess of your system.
According to Microsoft themselves:
“We do not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer,” Microsoft says on its website. “If you receive an unsolicited email message or phone call that purports to be from Microsoft and requests that you send personal information or click links, delete the message or hang up the phone.”
A good rule of thumb is to never accept tech support help you did not intentionally seek out. If you didn’t call them to arrange any appointment, there’s something fishy going on, and it’s best just to hang up.
Please share this article. Let’s get the word out about this, so more people don’t become victims of these phone scams.
Here are a few other articles covering these phone scams:
Microsoft Warns of Internet Phone Scam (pcworld.com)
‘Microsoft support centre’ scam continues, and takes turn for worse (the guardian.co.uk)
Microsoft Warns of Internet Phone Scam (tomshardware.com)