Microsoft Scam - They've Got Your Number

Not only do scammers know where you live, but they know your telephone number, your e-mail, and where you work.
Not only do scammers know where you live, but they know your telephone number, your e-mail, and where you work. | Source

We thought we knew what to look for with Internet fraud. But this wasn't about our identity, nor did it come from the Internet. Our computer just plain wasn't working right and would frequently tell us that it needed to send another error message. Of course, we sent the messages. They are supposed to help upgrade the systems for everyone, right? At lease we thought so. Then today, we received a phone call from Microsoft.

Scam Artists Claim to Have Important Personal Information

They said that they were calling because we were having problems with our computer. It had been sending lots of error messages and they wanted to fix it for us. "What?" my husband said, "We don't want your services," and hung up the telephone, thinking it was a scam.

Another call came. This time, I answered the telephone. The person on the other end was obviously from another country, and there was a lot of feedback on the line. At first, I could not understand what they were telling me. They got someone else to come to the phone that could speak better English. "We want to help you, you are having problems with your computer. We have your computer license number. We can access the computer remotely and repair the problem." I told them to call back in 10 minutes.

I had dealt with Microsoft before when my computer at work had a virus. I had watched while they accessed my computer remotely and repaired a number of problems. It was an awesome service that they provided. At that time, I had to pay because it was a business computer. I knew that they did the same thing for home computers at no cost to the individual. I spoke with my husband, and he confirmed the incidence of error messages, and he was willing to have the problem fixed.

During the phone call with the scammer, I felt that my personal space had been invaded.
During the phone call with the scammer, I felt that my personal space had been invaded. | Source

Scam Artists Use Fear Tactics to Get What They Want From You

I stationed myself at the computer with the cordless telephone in hand. When they called back, it was a different person on the telephone and I could not understand them. I requested for the other person who talked to me to get on the telephone. They brought that other person back.

We proceded to configure remote access on the screen and he talked me through what was happening. He showed me the error messages on my computer, and told me how if they were not repaired, that the computer would "lock up" and we would not be able to use it any more. He showed me where to find the "license number" and he proceeded to do a scan to see if the license was still "valid."

Then the technician showed me where hackers had already accessed my data and left files on my computer. He told me to go through specific actions to try to get rid of these files, but they would not disappear or be deleted. He told me that these files left my computer vulnerable to other hackers getting onto my computer accessing my files.

Have you ever been contacted by a scam artist?

See results without voting

Scam Artists Ask for Money First

The technician then told me that I needed to purchase an "Anti-Hacking Tool" from him, and gave me the prices for one year, two years, or three years. I told him that I did not want to purchase anything. He continued to try and get me to purchase even though I told him I did not want to pay any money.

He tried to distract me from what was happening on the computer screen by giving me information to write down, such as his employee name, number, and the telephone number where he was calling from, in an effort to "prove" to me that he was legitimate and that I could trust him. It was difficult to understand what he was saying, and I had to have him repeat himself several times. He claimed that he would fix the problem and that I would not have to pay.

While talking to me, he started accessing Internet websites, including Pay Pal. When I attempted to end the conversation by clicking on the red "X" button to stop the remote access of the computer, the technician continued what he was doing, preventing me from using the mouse. When I saw my e-mail address in the log-in space on Pay Pal, I knew that I didn't want any more of this. I quickly turned the computer off and hung up the telephone.

After the phone call with Microsoft Support, I felt that my dignity and self-respect were still intact.
After the phone call with Microsoft Support, I felt that my dignity and self-respect were still intact. | Source

One Man's Response to the Phone Call from Microsoft

Legitimate Businesses Use Established Practices

After I had settled down, I used a different computer to access the Microsoft website. I found a telephone number and called to find out if this was legitimate. They assured me that they do not call customers. The issue with repeated error messages was no danger to my computer, and it was not at risk of being "locked up." They talked with me about the call I had received, and assured me that it was not from Microsoft.

In comparing the two phone calls, I noticed several things different about this call:

  1. The person who answered the phone asked what language I would like to use
  2. The words said were easily understandable, although I could tell there was a foreign accent.
  3. There was no feedback in the call, it was rather quiet, although it was evident that the person on the other end was in a call center.
  4. A reassuring tone of voice was used, there were no fear tactics.
  5. Remote access of my computer did not require accessing the Start Menu first, but going to a web site on the Internet.
  6. During the remote access, the technician carefully explained what was being done and asked if I was comforatable with it. I was assured that I could end the session at any time if I felt uncomfortable.
  7. A scan was done of my computer, and a list of repairs made that need to be done.
  8. I was given options to fix the problem on my computer, and when I chose not to hire the company to make the needed repairs, the technician ended the call without further trying to convince me that I was making a mistake.
  9. There was no effort made to obtain financial information from me at any time during the call.

After the call to Microsoft, we felt that we had been taken advantage of, and that our vulnerability to such things was high. Although we have high quality computer skills, we realized that we are vulnerable to phone calls from people wanting to help when we have a problem. They definitely had our number, do they have yours?

More by this Author


Comments 16 comments

elizarubya12 profile image

elizarubya12 4 years ago

Those people trying to call us about our computer were just being plainly ridiculous. It is frustrating when we are taken advantage of. I nearly fell into that kind of scam with money problems a few times and do not wish to have any more of them.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Yes, Elizarubya12. It is not any fun when others try to take our precious resources that we have worked so hard for from us in that kind of way. It is wise to be aware of what can happen.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean

Wow! So sorry about what happened. Thanks for the warning. It is very kind of you to share your experience so we could all learn from it. I those "Send" error messages all the time. Voted useful!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

You are welcome MsDora. I didn't realize that others had experienced this as well until I found several videos on You Tube about the issue. It is a bit unnerving to think that people would do this kind of thing.


nyc111 4 years ago

We got two calls today that we believe were fraud, both claiming to be from Microsoft and saying we had errors on our computers (we both threatened to report them to the FBI). I read that you should not even verify with the callers that you have Windows. This is unbelievable!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Thanks for your comment nyc111. Since we got our phone call, I have spoken with a number of people who have received these calls. When I spoke with Microsoft, they said that they would never initiate a phone call over error reporting.


Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

Oh my goodness! I am so glad that I read your Hub about this phony Microsoft phone call. Microsoft should report these imposters to the federal government. When they called us, we actually reported it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http: // complaint. ic3. gov. I hope they get shut down and lose their ability to access American computers!


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

Yes, Deborah-Diane, it would be nice if they could be stopped. When I was writing my hub, I found a number of videos on You Tube about the issue. It looks like we are not the only ones who have been called! Thanks for the tip about where they could be reported.


Rfordin profile image

Rfordin 4 years ago from Florida

Yikes, I can TOTALLY understand why you would feel your privacy was viloated. I have seen "remote access" working before and it can be kind of cool but to see someone try and access my personal information would drive me batty.

I worry about my parents when it comes to things like this. They are older (70's) and are very naieve when it comes to scams and scam artists via the Internet. I of course want them to expereince all the positives the 'net has to offer but am terrfied they will run into jerks that take advantage of them.

Did anything else ever come of this? Paypal hacked? Email?

I would feel just as violated I'm sorry.

~Becky


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

No, there were no other repercussions as of yet Rfordin. You are right in being concerned about your parents. They are vulnerable to all sorts of scams via Internet, mail, and telephone. It is wise to be checking up with them on their financial situation and have access to their bank accounts yourself, if possible, so that you can stop it if something happens. If they will allow it, get power of attorney paperwork done, then you will be prepared for their eventual loss of ability to care for themselves as well. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Liz Barnard 3 years ago

I keep on getting calls from Microsoft technical dept telling me my PC has a virus. It has been going on now for about 6 months I have got so fed up with them when they call now, I just say, Oh you have been calling for 6 month about the same thing, before I get chance to tell them to P--- off they have put the phone down. or I just say don't try to scam me and put the phone down on them. I know Microsoft will not be calling me they do not even call big companies .


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

That is right. We found out the hard way. Since then, we are much more wary of these types of phone calls, and realize that they are not legitimate. You are smart to end the calls before anything happens. Way to go!


Natalie 3 years ago

I got this call tonight. I went online on my phone while he was still talking to me on the home phone and looked up scam. I found a video with an exact script of what this man was currently saying. I told him the next line of what he was about to say, and once he heardthis he knew I wouldn't be fooled and he hung up on me. I don't know how people who do this can live with themselves. preying on innocent victims!! it's just disgusting. I'm glad I was able to be forewarned.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

You were smart, Natalie, to check into it with him still on the telephone! They really prey upon people's gullibility and fear. Now that more people have heard of the scam, you would think that they would stop trying! Thanks for reading and commenting!


Denise B. 2 years ago

We've been receiving these calls on and off for years now, but lately they've increased to 1 or 2 a week! I tell them to get lost, but my husband likes to string them along for the fun of it. The last time, he finally hung up on them, only to be called back by the "supervisor" and told that Microsoft was going to sue him for $1,500 for not cooperating with them!!! He laughed and said that he was looking forward to it, at which time they finally hung up on him. Sadly, I doubt that it will be the last time they call.


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota Author

That is just plain crazy! Thanks for sharing your experiences. There must be people falling for this, or they wouldn't keep calling!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working