Microsoft Tech Support Scam

“Richard, I shouldn’t be worried about a call from Microsoft Tech Support, should I?”
“Not if you hang up.”

A dear senior at our church made the mistake of trusting a despicable scammer. In this case, a telephone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft’s Tech Support team.

Over the next several hours, they had full access to her computer, obtained her credit card information, billed her for useless servicing and installed ransomware. And they may have installed other malicious code.

This scam has been around for quite some time. Unfortunately it is still taking too many victims. Microsoft provides this warning to its customers:

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.
  • Convince you to visit legitimate websites (like to download software that will allow them to 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.

And, to emphasize the point, Microsoft also offers the following helpful advice:

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

Malwarebytes has a helpful page on the scam which you can find here.

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