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. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Fake Microsoft Scams”

  1. Brenda Colbath

    Well, here is one for the books. We bought a Microsoft 2010 Office Pro on ebay. Installed it in one computer, with microsofts help. Had them authenticate it 3 times when we called for tech support. Then when we wanted to install it on the third computer, suddenly it was deemed to be a fake and we were told by a “socalled fraud dept. rep. that we had bought a “developers copy” and need to buy a new one. We could not get tech support, and if you are familiar with Ebay and Paypal 6 months is too late to file a claim. We were told that NONE of Microsoft’s software is made in America! It is always labeled made in another country. Sure nuff ours was MADE IN AMERICA.

  2. what you said is true. the scam artist who called me up was very polite and professional. if i havent read similar reports at http://www.callercenter.com, I would have fallen prey. i feel bad for just even hanging up at him because he was really nice to me.

  3. “i feel bad for just even hanging up at him because he was really nice to me.”

    Yep Doris. that’s the way they work, taking advantage of a person’s good nature.

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