Microsoft: Beware of this scam

Have you had a man from Microsoft call you and advise you that your computer is infected with a virus? If so, you are one of an increasing number being targeted by a phone scam – writes James Matthews of Innovation IT Support.

By now email scams have been going around for some time and people are starting to get used to them. Scam emails claiming to be from the Banks trying to get hold of your account details or online banking password – so crooks are now turning to other ways to try and scam people.

The latest malware scam (which has started to hit worldwide) involves people making pretend telephone calls claiming to be from Microsoft or your Antivirus company, trying to provide over the phone instructions to fix a virus that they are claiming is on your machine (which doesn’t exit). The instructions actually turn your machine in to a spam spreading portal.

In a typical scenario of the scam, callers are told that their machine is being monitored by Microsoft and an infection has been detected. The caller then offers to talk the customer through steps to fix the (non-existent) problem. The instructions install a piece of software on the machine which then allows it to be used as part of what’s called a bot network and also potentially allows someone to connect to your machine and steal personal details like account numbers and online passwords.

If all this wasn’t already bad enough, many people have been asked to provide credit card details to pay a service fee.

How to learn from this type of scam

As always ignore anyone who makes a phone call out of the blue asking for personal information of any kind. They don’t have any way of actually telling that you have a computer or not, so the best thing to do is not get in to a discussion with them – just simply hang up.

James Matthews is the founder of Innovation IT Support, a Swindon business that specialises in business IT support including email, networking, computer repairs, upgrades and system health checks.


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7 thoughts on “Microsoft: Beware of this scam

  1. I had a call this morning which diverted to my answering service. The number looked odd so I googled it and sure enough there were plenty of forums indicating it to be a scam and to do with the Microsoft thing mentioned above.

    My advice would be to get a trusted IT provider, such as James, to check over your PC. It might cost you a couple of quid more than the guys from India but at least you will feel safer!

  2. Excellent warning James, thank you.

    Do you know you can sign up to The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and stop alot of scam calls? Ask me about it (or just Google it!) and register, it’s free!

    Eric

  3. Eric,

    I think the problem with the TPS is that you can’t register as a business – I think that is correct? And in any case it wouldn’t stop this type of sales call, certainly from another country.

    Regards

    Phil

  4. The TPS is good and definitely works pretty well for residential numbers. But it’s still limited to businesses & organisations that have signed up tot he code of conduct. It all helps though

  5. Yes, the TPS service has definitely helped me at home with nuisance phone calls.

    I registered a few years ago, but I must say that recently some calls have been getting through to me!

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