Fraudulent Microsoft Support Calls
Technical Support Calls
You get a call on your home phone and the caller identifies himself as technical support for Microsoft. Then, he says that your computer has been infected with a virus and he is calling to help fix the problem with your microsoft windows computer. What he needs you to do is locate your IP address so he can take a look at your computer and get the virus removed.
Microsoft will NEVER call you and do this. However, someone is make just these calls. It appears to be one of the newest scams occuring at the moment, and unfortunately because it is a live person making the call many people are falling for it. As my tech guy says, Microsoft doesn't do anything for free so if you get this type of call and they are offering to enter your computer and fix something, it is not Microsoft calling.
Tips to identify the call:
1. The caller has a foriegn accent. All the calls received so far have been from foriegn speakers. Microsoft does outsource to foriegn countries, they won't call you though.
2. The call is probably coming in on your home line. The reason is that most home lines are within a reasonable proximity to your IP address so it is easier to identify the IP addresss when it triangulated with the home telephone number.
3. It is suppose to be a free support call to assess the risk of your computer.
4. Ask the caller to identify which computer they are referring to. In the US, many households have multiple computer hook ups. This question will usually yeild an answer like...the one with microsoft on it. In other words, its a very vague form of idenification. They want you to tell them which computer they can gain access to.
Never give out your IP address. My understanding is that once they gain access to your computer, they will install software which can lock up or delete your files, especially picture files and word documents so that if you don't pay to get the software removed, they simply delete all of your files. They go in and install, tell you - OMG, you do have this virus program and it is called (whatever it is) and it will cost you to remove it. They are the ones who installed it to begin with.
Microsoft doesn't do this. I personally know of three people who have received these calls in the last week. One of them said her husband wanted to do it! He had no idea that someone could break into his computer just from his IP address.
The level of fraud and internet scams seems to be escalating exponentially. The only thing you can really do to keep yourself and your files safe is to use some reasonable amount of common sense. Ask questions. Most of the time, it won't matter what question, they won't have a good answer for it. One woman asked who they were calling. Apparently the numbers are randomly generated. They won't know who they are calling half the time and you might not even have a standard windows program that you are using.
My tech guy was very disturbed about this last week because he had been receiving the calls and wanted to make sure our office knew what was happening. It turned out that we had already been receiving calls but no one thought to mention it. As a final precaution, tell them you appreciate the call and ask what their technical support number is and tell them you don't have time to trouble shoot it right now but that you will call them back and see if they can give you a support number. Chances are they will tell you that they will call back at a time that is more convenient. If they give you a number, check it against the Microsoft Technical Support numbers published on the web. While you are at it, you might try calling and reporting it as fraudulent activity.