Scammers go after your computer, money, personal info in one phone call
Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com
The phones are ringing as scam artists call into idaho claiming to be Microsoft technicians, offering to fix slow computers. We asked Better Business Bureau’s Dale Dixon to show us how the scam works.
Cybercriminals don't just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They
might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. They might offer to
help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to
your computer, they can do the following:
- Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords.
- They might also then charge you to remove this software.
- Take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
- Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
- Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or
financial information there.
Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to
charge you for computer security or software fixes. Once the person turns over control, the
scammer installs a virus then demands credit card payment to remove the virus.
The virus is nasty. The scammer doesn't remove the virus but steals the credit card number.
If someone has already allowed remote access to his computer, he should turn off the computer. Remove it from the internet ASAP. Get it into a real, BBB-accredited computer repair shop.
If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you:
Do not purchase any software or services.
Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the "service." If there is, hang up.
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
Take the caller's information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from
Microsoft tech support.
Interestingly, on Oct. 4, the Federal Trade Commission cracked a major international tech support scam in which telemarketers masquerade as major computer companies, con consumers into
believing their computers are riddled with viruses, spyware and other malware, and then
charge hundreds of dollars to remotely access and “fix” the consumers’ computers. The
FTC charged that the five operations – mostly based in India – target English-speaking
consumers in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the U.K. from
telemarketing boiler rooms. Telemarketers claimed affiliation with Dell, Microsoft, McAfee
and Norton, and told intended victims malware was detected by the company and needed
immediate removal. The scammers direct consumers to a utility area of their computer to
show that the computer had been infected. The scammers charge from $49 to $450 to
remove it. When consumers agreed to pay the fee, the scammers took remote access to
the victim’s computer to “remove” non-existent malware and downloaded otherwise free
Find more tips to protect your money, your identity, and your computer at BBB.org.