Posts tagged "Confidence trick"

Dealing with Fake Tech Support & Phone Scams

On this blog, we’ve discussed the ways that scammers can attack your PC, through malicious software, rogue security alerts, phishing attacks and more. But the bad guys have now devised a new vector: the phone. I first learned about this when I heard my parents had received a call that they had been identified as having rogue software on their PC. The caller, who said he was from Microsoft, needed to remote access their PC to resolve the issue. Turns out scammers like these were simply taking the time to prey on potential victims by calling them and masquerading as a representative from a trusted institution to trick them into giving up valuable and personal information. Sometimes, as in my parents’ case and others, they even advise installing a remote access code so scammers will have full access to the PC.

We’ve discovered this telephone scam is aimed at English-speaking countries, including North America and the United Kingdom. The callers pretend to be from Microsoft and try to sell the victim something, direct them to a specific website, asked for remote access, to install software, a credit card number, or run a bogus security scan that showed an infection. The Trustworthy Computing Team conducted a survey of 7,000 people, and found that more than 1,000 people had received calls.  Of those 1,000 people, 22 percent of people fell for the scam (234 people total), and 184 of those lost money – on average, more than $800.

You can check out some tips for avoiding phone scams here, but we want to remind you will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft or our partners to charge you for computer fixes. If someone does call you claiming to be from Microsoft:

  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support if you did not initiate the call to Microsoft first.
  • Ask upfront if you are required to purchase software or pay a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
  • Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities. If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, check out these tips that can help you protect your money and identity.

It’s a jungle out there! Please remember to question any unsolicited email or call. If the email came from somebody in your contact list but it feels suspicious, here is a great article on recognizing phishing emails. Lastly, always keep your PC protected with antivirus software like Microsoft Security Essentials, which is free or software from one of our partners.

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Posted by plates55 - September 22, 2012 at 8:56 am

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