Beware of Microsoft phone scams: cybercriminals are back at it

Cybercriminals operate on various levels: using special software such as keyloggers, sending emails asking users to provide them with confidential information in order to break into your Microsoft account, or simply employing social engineering in calling users directly.

Lately, cybercriminal activities have reached a peak with more and more Windows users reporting being called by various Microsoft Support engineers offering to fix their computer.

Strangely enough, sometimes these cybercriminals actually call users having genuine issues with their computers, which makes it easier for them to convince users to cooperate.

I received a phone call, the number was 75-353-1383. Not a legitimate area code.  The man had an Indian accent and said he was from Microsoft.  He also said I was having problems with my computer (which is true).  He was going to fix it for me. I had a very difficult time understanding him and he didn’t know my name or email address.  What’s up with this?  Anyone else have this call?

Such phone calls are common practice among cybercriminals, but you should know that neither Microsoft nor its partners make unsolicited phone calls to offer troubleshooting services or charge for computer security or software fixes.

In such cases, you should immediately hang up the phone. Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

Cybercriminals use publicly available phone directories, so they know your name and other personal information when they call you. Since Windows runs on 89.79% of the world’s computers, they can easily guess what operating system you’re using.

After they’ve gained your trust, they will ask for your username and password or ask you to go to a legitimate website to install malware software. Once they gain access to your computer, your personal information — especially bank account information — is vulnerable.

The cybercriminals who use phone call scams as their modus operandi often claim to be from the following departments:

  • Windows Helpdesk
  • Windows Service Center
  • Microsoft Tech Support
  • Microsoft Support
  • Windows Technical Department Support Group
  • Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)

If you receive a suspicious phone call “from Microsoft”, immediately report the phone scam.

For more information about the strategies used by cybercriminals and what to do in such cases, go to Microsoft’s page.

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