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 phoney services.
- Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.
Neither Microsoft nor their partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.
Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:
- Windows Helpdesk
- Windows Service Centre
- Microsoft Tech Support
- Microsoft Support
- Windows Technical Department Support Group
- Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)
How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams.
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 customer.
- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.
What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person
If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:
- Change your computer’s password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
- Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.
- Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charge you for it, this is also a scam.)