Fake Microsoft Scams


We recently posted on the forum warning our readers about a telephone scam which has been doing the rounds and proliferating:

The scam starts with a phone call from someone claiming to be a Microsoft representative. They will tell the consumer that they have received numerous error reports from the home Windows PC and need to check some settings for them…or something very much along those lines. They will begin by asking you to check some innocuous settings and gradually work their way up to requesting remote access…this is their final goal and what they have been after all along.

The fake representatives generally speak with an ‘offshore’ accent and are very convincing. Many people feel intimidated by their ‘official’ approach and fall prey to the scam. Over the past 6 months or so I have received more than a dozen phone calls from worried friends and associates who have been contacted by these people, fortunately none have agreed to grant remote access to date.

Microsoft DO NOT make telephone calls to private homes…it just doesn’t happen. If this happens to you; hang up immediately and if they ring back tell them in no uncertain terms you are not interested.

Now we have another fake Microsoft scam in the form of ‘ransomware’ (or ‘scareware’), which can be inadvertently downloaded to the computer. Once your computer has been infected, a very official looking message will be displayed on your screen purporting to come from the Microsoft Licensing Center. The message  is specifically designed to frighten the recipient into paying out some of their hard earned dollars: “Your Microsoft Windows authenticity could not be verified, you need to have it fixed, which is just a 100€ payment”.

It then goes on to provide  instructions on how to make your payment and warns that if don’t pay, you’ll lose access to the computer and will lose all your data. And, as if that’s not enough to worry you, it adds that the District Attorney’s office has been notified of your IP address and if you fail to pay the 100€ in 48 hours you will be prosecuted. <original source>

There is no specific method for avoiding this scam, which can be passed on by a variety of methods. Follow recommended basic security protocols and you should be okay:

  • Be very wary of P2P. If you must use file sharing services, do so with extreme caution.
  • Do not open attachments or click on embedded links in any emails where you do not know the sender or are in any way suspicious.
  • Make sure your security programs are kept up-to-date, especially anti-virus

That’s about all I can think of, if you know of any other security measures which may help avoid these ‘scareware’ type scams please pass them on via the comments. 🙂

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About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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