There are many online scammers in the world today, and they are finding more and more ways to cause harm, and steal money or information from people, including personal details and even bank account information.
Unfortunately, some of these scammers are very clever, and have fooled many people across the globe into giving out access to their computers or credit card details.
One of these scams, which has actually been running for over three years now, is rather scarily, using Microsoft’s name to get access to your computer and to find any relevant personal data kept on there, with which they can either apply for credit, or use your bank account or credit card details online.
The most common Microsoft Scam phone calls are conducted from call centres, where someone pretending to be from the Microsoft team calls to ask you for remote access to your computer, in order to diagnose or resolve a non-existent problem.
The caller will tell you that your computer has shown up on their report for “serious virus problems” and ask you to open a program called Windows event viewer. You will see a list of errors, some marked as critical. This is normal for event viewer and does not mean anything bad is happening to your computer.
With this they will attempt to gain your trust before convincing you that they can fix the problem. They will ask you to either download a program where they provide you the link, or gain remote access to your system. Then claim to be fixing your computer whilst they grab all the information they can, or even implant a virus onto your system. They mainly target PC users, but it is only a matter of time before Mac users are targeted too.
Microsoft estimate that 1 in 5 UK citizens have received one of these calls, and are working with international police agencies to try and stamp this scam out.
Remember Microsoft will never make an unsolicited call to ask for access to your computer to fix a problem.
If you receive one of these calls you MUST hang up.
Unfortunately many people only realize after the fact that they may have been scammed. If you have already give access to your computer to someone over the phone that claimed to be from Microsoft, then you need to do the following.
Reset your windows password. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and then click change a password. Make sure it’s a strong one, and not easy to guess.
Scan your system with an up to date Virus, Malware and Spyware program to find out if any programs have been put on your computer.
Make sure you are running good and up to date antivirus software and a firewall.
If you have given anyone your credit card details to pay for a fix, then you must contact your credit card company and ensure that you report this fraudulent purchase and ask them to put a stop on your card.
If you have any concerns or need advice on keeping yourself safe online please feel free to call in for a chat.
See the following for additional information about this and what to do and how Microsoft operates: