Phone scams are not new, with the first ones occurring when VOIP came out in 2004 since VOIP calls are cheaper. The first real Microsoft phone scams began to proliferate around 2009, peaked in 2011, but continued on to this day. Since phone scammers target those who are unwary and the “non-techie” online consumers, it would be wise to know a scam firsthand and what to do when the call comes.
If you receive a phone call from a so-called “security expert” from Microsoft or any other PC security firm, and you’re not sure if it is real or fake, read on to identify fake Microsoft technical support calls and how to act against them.
Here’s How It Works
The scammer calls you and asks for you by your full name. They then identify themselves as a computer security expert from Microsoft or coming from a legitimate and known tech support company. The scammer is always polite, sounds plausible and officious. They proceed to “inform” you that they have detected that your computer or laptop has been infected with malware or a major virus/worm, and they can help you solve the problem. They will even scare you as to the depth of damage the malware/virus/worm can cause your computer or laptop.
The scammers will then request that you give them remote access to your PC or laptop, and will then use the access to harness your personal data. Others will request you to download a “virus cleaner” (actually malware) that will access your computer’s data. The most straightforward scam is to ask for payment for a “lifetime protection package” against the infections in your computer.
The Truth: Microsoft and any other legitimate IT security company will never call you about malware or virus attacks on your PC or laptop. Never. They have no way to detect if your computer is infected. The scammers simply got your name from the phone book, a marketing list they probably hacked into, or they hacked into your social media or e-mail accounts to get personal data. Either way, they know zip and nada about your home computer setup; they’re simply phishing/fishing to see if they can hook an unwary non-techie novice user who easily gets scared at the word, “virus.”
What Action Can You Take Against Fake Microsoft Technical Support Calls?
1. Nothing. Put the phone down. They won’t call you again (if they do, swear them off and put down the phone again).
2. Never give them any personal information, no matter how small. Never, never give them your bank, credit card, and other financial details.
3. Never allow them to guide you to a certain webpage or have you change any settings on your PC or download any software. By the way, if you’re this far talking to them, it’s a complete waste of your time. Put down the phone right away.
4. If you can, get the caller’s details. You should report the scam; call the police ASAP because they still might be able to trace the scammers.
5. Always remember this: a legitimate technical support company will never call you. You need to call them first to ask for help. Always remember, a legitimate tech support companies never solicit.
Have you received one of these calls? What did you do to turn them down? Please share it on the comment section.