Scam calls pretending to be from Microsoft on the rise, targets the tech novice

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For those that don’t know, Microsoft does not call you at home and warn you about a threat on your computer, only to offer ‘help’ in fixing the issue. Apparently, these types of scam calls are on the rise as of late.

A scammer calls your house and asks for you by name, pretending to be a computer security pro from a legitimate company. The scammer expert claims that you are at risk for a computer security threat and offers to help you solve the problem. The scammer has you perform a variety of tasks to help fight the bogus threat and even tricks you into giving them remove access to your computer. The scammer also tricks you into downloading malware and even asks you for your credit card information.

Here’s an example provided by KTAR. A phone call comes in from a man named Andrew Allison from Microsoft Security. Andrew claims that the “NT wires” were installed incorrectly and were causing “errors across the Internet.” But luckily, Andrew knew how to fix the problem and could easily correct it. Nope, not happening Andrew. Nice try.

These scammers are using some interesting tactics to target those who are technology novices. These scammers use a ‘cold-calling’ technique where they randomly call phone numbers in the United States knowing that pretty much everyone has a computer and are most likely running Windows. These scammers are from foreign countries and are simply trying to steal your money.

These scammers use a variety of tactics, of which include getting the victim to open up their Windows Event Viewer. The scammer will point out that there are a ton of errors in the Event Log, scaring the victim into doing something they shouldn’t. We all know its normal to have errors in the Event Log.

Another tactic revolves around opening up command prompt to check your system ID and to run a verify command, which returns “verify is off.” The scammer will argue that your computer is unable to get Windows Updates because the victim’s computer cannot be verified. These scammers will even have you open up a “system certificate” that has a date of 2011 and claim that your computer hasn’t been updated since that time.

Just remember, if you get calls like this, be wary. Never give your personal information, including credit card or bank details, to a unsolicited caller. Don’t go to a website, type anything, or install any software from someone who calls you out of nowhere. Try to take the caller’s information down and report it to the police. Make sure you have the latest security updates for Windows and check Windows Update to make sure you do have them installed. Use a strong password and keep your firewall turned on! Be safe out there from these scammers!