Hello, I'm calling from Microsoft about a problem with your computer.
Windows Tech Scam
By now most of you should have received at least one if not dozens of phone calls from persons claiming to be Microsoft employees reporting a problem with your computer. They all have heavy east Indian accents and are difficult to understand, at least for me. These calls come from males and females.
They advise you that your computer is reporting into Microsoft regarding a problem with your Microsoft Windows and that they can help you fix it.
What they really want is money, and access to your computer. If you fall for their story they will have you do a few things on the keyboard that will bring up a list of errors to prove they know what they are doing. This list of errors is on everyone's computer and is nothing to worry about. They then want you to download a little small program that will give them remote access to your personal computer. If you fall for this, they can log onto your computer and look around as if they were sitting in front of the computer with you with their fingers on the keyboard.
Next they will tell you that the problem is so complex they will need some money to "renew your Microsoft Windows license" before they can do the repairs. They start at $300 but if you are not going for that they will grudgingly go down to $100 because they feel sorry for you.
Remember that you earlier gave them access to your computer and if you have banking or credit card information on that computer they now have your account numbers and passwords. If you refuse to pay them they will wipe out a few of your programs while you watch the screen to prove to you what they can do. If you get angry they will start swearing at you and calling you names. If you reach this point in the scam you should immediately disconnect your computer from the network and hang up the phone.
Your phone will ring again within minutes and they will say they lost access to your computer and need you to hook up to the network again so they can finish what they started and restore your missing programs. DON'T DO THIS!
Unless you are fairly proficient with the Windows operating system, you will now need to have someone else find and delete the remote access program they had you install or they can come back and visit anytime they want to. These and any Trojan Horses and Malware they installed on you computer is still there just waiting to cause you more problems.
By now your possibly wondering how I know about this scam. Well, my daughter fell for this up to the point of giving them access to her computer. When they found out she didn't have the money they were asking for, they got angry and formatted her hard drive wiping out everything on her computer including the Windows operating system. I had given her the computer and fortunately I still had the original system restore disks in my desk so everything is OK again. She learned a valuable lesson with this one. At least I hope she did.
The best thing to do when they call is either just hang up or tell them you don't even have a computer anymore.
Personally, I like to mess with them because they call my phone at least 3 or 4 times a week. Here are a few of the things I do when they call:
1. I ask them to tell me what my IP address is. They will want to know why you need to know this. I tell them that if they were getting error reports from my computer they would have this information. They either give a bogus number or they hang up. I don't know if they really would have my IP address or not, but it works every time.
2. I ask them which one of my 4 computers is reporting the errors and what operating system these errors pertain to. They won't be able to tell you so advise them to call back when they have that information. They hang up.
3. I tell them my computer is in another room and takes forever to boot. I politely ask if I can put them on hold while I go start up the computer. They agree to go on hold and I put them on hold and never pick up the phone again until much later.
4. I tell them that is my business computer and my IT Tech will have to call them back in the morning as I am not allowed to touch that computer. They hang up.
5. I pretend to be following their instructions on how to download the remote access program while I sit there reading my email or playing solitaire. I keep apologizing because I don't understand what they are asking me to do. I was able to keep the last guy on the phone for almost an hour and he was getting frustrated. Finally I asked him if the computer needed to be turned on to do what he wanted. He said "Of course it needs to be on." I then tell him our power has been off for a few hours due to a storm and I don't know when it will come back on. He called me a stupid bast*** and hung up.
It is best not to do this, but if I have time on my hands I do it for fun and while I keep them busy they are not scamming anyone else.
If you fall for this scam it is impossible to track down where the call came from. Most of them are using VOIP (Internet) phone connections and they can't be traced. You should also change the passwords to your credit card and banking accounts immediately.
As long as there are people there will be someone trying to scam others out of their hard earned money. This scam has been around for a long time and will be here for even a longer time. It must work or they would have given up long ago.
Rule #1 - Don't ever give anyone you don't know remote access to your computer period.
Rule #2 - Remember rule #1.
Just as you wouldn't let any stranger search through you purse or wallet, you shouldn't let anyone search through your computer.
I hope you haven't been a victim of this scam, but if you have not heard from them they will be calling you eventually.
Take a few moments when talking with your friends to warn them about this scam. The more people that are aware the less successful the scam artists will be and they might quit trying.
Below are just a few of hundreds of links describing this scam.
Thanks for taking the time to read this hub and I hope it saves you or someone you know an expensive lesson.