So, what do you do when the fine folks from Microsoft take the time to call you about an issue with your PC? Hang up! It’s a scam. Microsoft never calls end users directly. But that’s not what people might be led to believe because, recently, there has been an increase in what I’m calling “cold-call phishing” attempts.
Here’s what happens:
The caller, claiming he’s from Microsoft tech support, will say they’ve detected that a virus or malware has invaded your computer, your computer may even have a similar message pop up on the screen just before you received the call. He’ll offer to help by directing you to certain websites, and then ask to remotely take control your PC to expedite the removal of such malware. Once inside your PC, he’ll install various “removal tools.” Now is when he’ll tell you “it’s worse than originally thought” and say you’ll need to pay for a different tool or, for a small fee, he’ll remove it manually. Once you agree to pay, the caller will either ask you for your credit card number to complete the transaction or lead you to a screen where you can “securely” input your credit card info. Finally, he’ll say he’s successfully cleaned up the virus and will leave a few “extra tools” installed to prevent this from happening again. Thank you for your time and patience.