Hello, this is Microsoft Support calling…
“Actually, no it’s not – you’re a scam IT support company based overseas who are trying to con me into an overpriced support contract.”
Although this particular scam has been running for a couple of years now, it’s still very prominent. Just this week I actually received the call from Microsoft Support myself, on my mobile and gave them the response above.
For those of us who are tech savvy, this particular scam isn’t much of an issue (apart from the inconvenience and wasted time), but for the average user who is doing their daily work and is suddenly interrupted by “Microsoft support” the scam can appear quite convincing. I’ve spoken to a number of people who have been taken in by this and similar scams, and the approach is broadly the same:
- They send you to a website to gain remote access to your computer
- They show you the event logs, and exclaim how you have ‘hundreds of errors’ while showing you some scary looking error and warning messages (they fail to tell you that even a brand new computer generates errors and warnings in it’s event logs)
- They then ask you for payment to improve your computer, and use a bunch of free tools or unlicenced software to ‘fix’ your computer
So, what can you do to avoid being caught. Read on!
Will Microsoft Support ever call me?
No… not unless you’ve raised a support case with them.
Firstly, how would they have your phone number?
Secondly, why would they be calling to tell you about errors and how would they know about them?
I think I’ve been scammed, what should I do?
In the vast majority of cases, these scammers aren’t installing malicious software onto peoples computers. However, they do tie you into a repeating monthly or annual support agreement on your credit card, which is overpriced for what it is. Sometimes they do actually deliver some kind of clean-up/repair service, but normally they scare you into paying for a repair you didn’t need. We’ve also seen them remove your paid for anti-virus and install free/trial products.
The first step is to uninstall any remote access tools they may have put on your machine. The main ones are ‘LogMeIn’, ‘Teamviewer’ and ‘GoToAssist’.