Phone scammers target Microsoft users
December 29, 2014  //  By:   //  Ripoffs & Scams  //  Comments are off

by Carol Thompson

The caller ID shows a Washington, DC number. A man on the line claims to be from Microsoft and is sorry to inform you that your latest Windows update was corrupt, or didn’t install properly, or didn’t install at all.

The man then offers to assist with fixing your PC. There are two ways he may go about it. The first is to transfer the call to a Microsoft technical support representative who will walk you through the repair- for a fee. Simply provide your credit card information and all will be well again.

Another scam is to walk you through steps to fix it that include signing into a website that’s set up to steal personal information from the computer.

Consumers report that the caller has a very thick accent and is hard to understand. The calls are most likely coming from overseas using a spoofed phone number. Where they aren’t coming from, for certain, is Microsoft.

Two years ago, U.S. officials struck at six long-running scams, freezing assets of 14 companies charged with bilking consumers by posing as tech support from Microsoft, Symantec and others.

The Federal Trade Commission said at the agency’s request a federal judge had issued restraining orders and frozen the assets of more than two dozen companies and individuals.

The scammers cold-call consumers posing as representatives of major technology companies, including Dell, McAfee, Microsoft and Symantec, telling them that their Windows PCs are infected with malware and offering to help them scrub their machines — for a price.

According to the FTC, most of the scams it hit operated out of India and targeted consumers in Australia, Canada, the U.K., U.S., and other English-speaking countries.

Although the FTC’s action halted the schemes temporarily, new scammers have appeared and have been on the increase.

Experts advise that no information be given out on the phone. If you receive a call from Microsoft or anyone else claiming to be technical support for your computer, hang up.

Image: Flickr/nywrestler132




About the Author :

Carol Thompson is a veteran investigative reporter residing in central New York. She spent 23 years with a local newspaper, The Valley News, before leaving for the Syracuse New Times, and now, VNN. Thompson has won dozens of first-place awards for investigative reporting and was the 2006 recipient of the Syracuse Press Club’s prestigious Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award. Thompson’s reporting has resulted in the arrest of public officials and has prompted policy changes. She uncovered two money laundering schemes that traveled the globe and resulted in the indictments of several developers.

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