Beware of the latest Windows phone scam

Khushaar Tanveer avatar. By: Khushaar Tanveer
2 minute read

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Security company Netsafe along with Microsoft have reached out to Windows users residing in New Zealand to warn them about a newly discovered telephone scam.

The series of scams are known to cause financial damage to its victims and infect their computer with malicious ransomware. The hackers behind it all have used a conventional approach this time with this telephone scam as discovered by Redmond. They said that scam artists pose as Microsoft personnel and pretend to help fix a computer bug or an infection.

Scammers reach out to users and scare them into thinking that their machines are hosting malicious malware that needs to be removed immediately. As it’s harming other users online, ISPs detect something suspicious on the systems.

Naive users, especially those who do not have sufficient technical awareness, are more prone to fall prey to the deception. They are then asked to pay a figure of around $500 to make a problem go away that didn’t even exist in the first place. And if they suspect the user to be smart enough to not pay up, they deliberately deploy a ransomware on their systems, denying them access to files until the victims pay the amount of money that is demanded.

This certainly isn’t the first attempt of hackers to breach security though. 2016 has been marked with too many red flags when it comes to scams and malware attacks.

How to stay safe?

As we have previously reported in other scam-related articles,

  1. Microsoft will never demand money for IT solutions.
  2. Microsoft employees, will never personally reach out to users by themselves to offer them fixes and solutions.

So, NEVER disclose ANY of your personal information to personnel on the other end of the line without any verification, be it your financial credentials, or access to a remote connection to your PC — even if they claim to be a Microsoft employee.

If you happen to encounter any such incident, hang up immediately. And even if by chance you disclosed any of your credentials, contact your bank ASAP.

“There are some cases where Microsoft will work with your Internet service provider and call you to fix a malware-infected computer – such as during the recent cleanup effort begun in our botnet takedown actions,” Microsoft explains.

“These calls will be made by someone with whom you can verify you already are a customer. You will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft or our partners to charge you for computer fixes.”

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