Signs of fraud/scam

They anger easily
They need you to act quickly
They try to use big words
They make themselves as experts
They are reluctant to give specific information
You have a GUT feeling…..

What you should do

BREATHE
-It isn’t as urgent as they/the popup make it seem!

Hang up!
Reboot your computer
Call a local technician

Resources

Microsoft’s own recommendations on the scam

Microsoft on the pop-up scams (ransomware)

Scambusters.org

Removing malware (will not get rid of the moderate to really bad stuff)

ADW cleaner

 

 

I find myself saying this statement a lot lately, “Microsoft will never call you”, usually with about ten extra “nevers” in there. One of the most prevalent computer “scams” going right now are the cold calls from people claiming to be from windows or Microsoft or windows and that they have detected lots of viruses on your computer and of course you need to pay them/give them access to your computer immediately to fix it.

THESE PHONE CALLS ARE NOT FROM MICROSOFT!

Think about it..

How does Microsoft track down your phone number/match your computer?
– If they could do this the privacy police/organizations would be all over that.

The phone calls are offshore scam houses making phone calls in hopes of tricking someone into allowing them access to their computer. After which they will steal information, encrypt/password and then hold for ransom your hard drive and all sorts of not so nice things. These people are not ever associated in any way shape or form with Microsoft, windows or any other reputable company whatsoever.

They are simply playing the odds that you have a windows based computer – something most people do.

JUST HANG UP!

Once they have access to your computer the only real way to completely be sure they will no longer have access to your computer is to wipe the hard drive and re-install everything from scratch. Even your information/data/personal files will be suspect.

Another common related fraud is the pop up on your computer claiming that your computer is infected and you need to call this 1-800 number immediately. Then they will charge you $100-$200 or more dollars, access your computer and “clean” your computer. Any website popup in this day and age should be suspect as they are not considered legitimate advertising methods.

Sometimes the pop-up can even appear to freeze your computer, simply restart the computer (press/hold the power button for 5 seconds works on ALL computers as an emergency shut-down).  If the popup re-appears when you return, then you were infected, but most likely by the initial pop-up, DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER!

Any reputable local technician can fix / remove the problem for far less than the popup people ($30-$60) and some shady , nameless person in a call centre thousands of miles away doesn’t have your information.

It is never as urgent or as important as they make it seem – take a moment and breathe, then call someone you know.

UPDATE!

It appears legitimate call centre calls for technical support (which end up in overseas call centers) are occasionally forwarding individuals to the fraudulent “Microsoft” people. I have two reports of this happening and one I personally can verify.  So if you call a call centre for tech support (yes even big companies) and end up being transferred and told to supply credit card info or personal info and that you are infected… and they want $$ to fix… – hang up. It is your right to speak to a customer support person in your own country.