Topic of the week:
The Microsoft Phone Support Scam
The Microsoft Support Scam:
The senerio: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a Microsoft Support Technician. They have detected that you are having problems with your computer and are calling to help you solve them. They will ask you to check a few settings on your system to verify what they believe is the problem, and will be very convincing. When questioned, they may claim that Windows automatically reports errors to Microsoft and they were simply following up on those automated reports. Once they have you believeing that they have the right system, and the right problem, they will get you to go to a website which will run a tool that will let them take control of your system so that they can "fix" the issue.
At this point, there are several variations of what may occour - In almost all cases they will proceed to poke around in your system as you watch - making it look like they are changing settings and generally fixing things and then they will then ask you for a credit card to pay a "reasonible" fee for the service. More often than not, they will have installed some form of malware on the system as well. This is software which is designed to either redirect your search results to sites of the scammer's choosing, or to make your computer part of a "Bot-Net" to be used by the scammer/hacker in the future.
Things to remember: First and foremost, Microsoft will NEVER contact you unsolicited for tech support. Second,
What to do if this has already happend to you: 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 a trusted Antivirus program to find out if you have malware installed on your computer. If you are still unsure, bring your computer to a trusted computer repair shop to have them test it for malware and/or clean it.