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Fake Microsoft Support Telephone Calls Keep Users On Their Toes While Many Remain Victimized

Originally Published October, 2013
by Christopher Spaulding

If your name is listed in the telephone directory, and you haven't by now received a random telephone call from a Microsoft Tech Support person, you most likely will at some time. Beware that if you do receive a call, they are not who they claim to be. They are criminals trying to scam you for personal information and bank or credit account information. These relentless scam artists continue seeking out unsuspected computer users tricking them in believing their computer is infected with viruses and trojans by means of having the user install malicious software. They use gimmicks like animated and fake system scanners to prove to you that you have viruses, then extort money from you to pay for additional software or services. Most of them may ask you to install  remote control software to gain access to your system. Little does the unsuspecting victim realize once it is done the scammer is able to manipulate their computer, and might also setup your computer see what what the victim is typing on the screen. The scam artist may have you connect to a Paypal account (be it real or a fake Paypal webpage) or your bank account and ask you to type in personal information while they watch and take notes. They may con the victim into relinquishing passwords to bank or credit card accounts. Some reports say that they go as far as deleting user personal documents and important files. All while the victim is unaware what is going on.

Don't let this happen. You may be more aware than your friend, relative, or co-worker. You would be surprised as how many people are still unaware of these practices. We've grown up hearing our parents warn us about stranger danger. Unfortunately, he is now in digital form.

In other instances, the users who are aware that these scam calls are happening choose to go ahead with the scam. Some go as far as recording the conversation and screen as the scam progresses. Then post the results to YouTube as a warning to the world of unsuspected individuals who remain clueless. Below are YouTube links to just some of these calls. Please take a moment to listen and learn about these scams.

Disclaimer - This individual is a professional and has a virtual computer he uses for testing and to play along. He knows its a scam and understands the circumstances. It is not suggested to play along with any phone support scams and best to hang up the phone if you receive one of these calls. Some videos may include profanity. View at your own discretion!

Jerome Segura is a highly trained tech who works for Malwarebytes, a well known antivirus utility. He decides to play along.

You should also be aware of pop ups such as the one in the next video which can appear on your computer screen. Some people may fall for this scam. Jerome (Tech in last video) thought to call and follow through with this scam. Obviously at one point he calls out the scammer and points out his his flaws. Notice how friendly the scammer remains through the calling out.

Please understand that this is nothing to joke about. These scammers are criminals trying to steal from you. I suggest handling it in a mature fashion. If you happen to know anyone who might fall for these pranks, please talk to them and make them aware that Microsoft never calls anybody about computer infections. They have more important concerns like their new Operating System coming out this Fall called Windows 8.1. We will talk about that more in our next blog.