Watch Out for This Scam

An ingenious new scam is currently sweeping our area. You may receive a call from someone claiming to represent Microsoft and stating that your computer has been detected with some sort of problem, such as an infection or an invalid license key. The call originates from an overseas call center, which will be obvious from the caller’s accent and also the background sound of voices conducting other calls. It should go without saying that Microsoft would never initiate a call such as this.

The scammer will attempt to persuade you to give him remote access to your computer so he can fix the alleged problem. Once connected into your computer, he will install tools to give him complete access to your computer. He will install a fake tool that will show that your computer is full of “errors” that need to be corrected, then ask you to pay for him to “fix” your computer. If you refuse to pay for this “service”, the caller will become increasingly belligerent, sabotaging your computer and extorting payment from you. For one of our clients hit by this scam, the caller began to systematically delete the data files from his computer.

Please keep in mind that this type of scam allows the scammer to bypass all of your protections (antivirus software, firewalls, passwords, wireless keys, and so on) to gain full and direct access to your computer.

We recommend the following:

  1. Never allow someone access to your computer unless it is a trusted professional and where you initiated the contact and the request.
  2. Should a suspicious person contact you claiming to be representing Microsoft, your best bet is to just hang up. If they continue to bother you, ask for a callback phone number, hang up, and call the police.
  3. Always keep a current and complete backup of all of your critical files, including business files, financial files, personal photos, etc.