Tis the Season for Telephone Scams

By | December 19, 2014
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'Tis the Season -Don't get scammed by telephone‘Tis the Season for Telephone Scams

We wanted to pass this on to you from Microsoft — this article originally appeared in Microsoft security newsletter.  Since so many of our subscribers have written to us concerned about phones calls they received from people claiming to be from Microsoft — it’s especially important that we pass this information along to you — don’t ever trust calls that come from out of the blue from anyone claiming to be from Microsoft. You’ll be out more than money — if you allow someone you don’t trust to access your computer you may be a target for identity theft.

We don’t want bad things happening to you.  So please take a few minutes and read the following – it could save you more than money.

(From Microsoft’s Security Newsletter )

“Cybercriminals don’t just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. 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.
  • 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.

Telephone tech support scams: What you need to know

Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you’re using.

Once they’ve gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

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)

Report phone scams

Learn about how to report phone fraud in the United States. Outside of the US, contact your local authorities.

How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams

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.

What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person

If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:

  • Change your computer’s password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
  • Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.
  • Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charge you for it, this is also a scam.)

Will Microsoft ever call me?

There are some cases where Microsoft will work with your Internet service provider and call you to fix a malware-infected computer—such as during the recent cleanup effort begun in our botnet takedown actions. These calls will be made by someone with whom you can verify you already are a customer. You will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft or our partners to charge you for computer fixes.”

(Article source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/securitytipstalk/ )

4 thoughts on “Tis the Season for Telephone Scams

  1. Ron Davis

    I received one of these calls from an Asian sounding male on Thursday 17th stating that he was from Microsoft and that there was a problem with my PC and he could fix it.
    I let him say what he had to say and after a long load of speel, I advised him that I didn’t even own a PC and the line immediately went dead.
    This is the second time I have received this type of call from Microsoft, the first time I reported the facts to my local Authorities.
    I hope the information you provided warns enough people to be aware of this scam as they can call anyone and I am ex-directory in the phone book.

    Reply
  2. Gerry DeSouza

    I had this done to me sometime ago and was aware of what was to come. Questioned the caller on every aspect of the contents of his call, where was he calling from!, what his name was?, what company did he work for and their address, asked him to hold the line and shouted to my wife to call the Fraud Squad – within seconds the line was disconnected. I doubt if they will call me again.l

    Reply
  3. Robyn

    I tried to download Microsoft security scanner and my computer wouldnt let me open it? So I deleted it. Why couldnt I open it?

    Reply

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