Microsoft Does NOT Want to Help!
Have you ever gotten a call from Microsoft, your ISP, or some other group claiming that there is an issue with your computer and that they can remotely connect to fix it? And even better, fix it for free? Sadly, these are complete scams. Sure, they’ll sign into your computer for free… but the damage they cause is far from free to fix. If it’s fixable at all.
The TLDR (too long didn’t read)
Which is a thing now? See, we learn new stuff every day too!
Increase in Tech Scams since 2016
Should be falling for it!
Admitted to actually falling for it
So, how does the scam start?
These scams start in one of two ways. Either you receive a phone call from someone claiming you have problems with your computer (though interestingly they can’t even tell you what version of Windows you have… of if you have Windows at all) or else you become infected with malware or visit an infected site and the malware pushes for you to make the first contact. Let’s look at how both of these examples work:
The Phone Scam
You randomly receive a phone call. “This is ____ from Microsoft and I’m calling about a problem I see your computer is having.” Well, isn’t that nice? Microsoft wants to take time out of the day to help you resolve a problem you didn’t actually know you had! Of course, that alone could be fishy so they try to build a little credit. This typically occurs by getting you to open your event viewer and seeing the errors. What people don’t realize is that there are always errors in your event viewer and many are completely harmless. Regardless, this little trick builds trust.
And the next step? Now that they have a little trust, it’s time to walk you through providing them remote access to your computer in order to “fix” the errors. What they do after that varies by scammer. You might have your computer ransomed, infected with spying viruses, or be convinced to purchase fake software from the scammer that itself then infects your computer. Whatever they do, it’s never good!
And remember, this isn’t limited to fake Microsoft technicians. It is also common to say they work for your ISP. Another variant of the scam comes as them pretending to be police officers with warrants to arrest you or the electric company about to cut off your power. In either case, you *must* provide an untraceable Green-Dot card as payment to avoid arrest or disconnect. All Scams!
Malware and the Infected Website
This one can be trickier. Now, “Microsoft” isn’t calling you but wanting you to call them. Worse, the error provided sounds quite bad (you can click that image on the right for a better view). Typically something along the lines of you being infected with viruses, someone is trying to hack you, or your computer is involved in illegal activity. Again, call that number and all three of those fake errors may become reality. Not good.
One of the main problems here is that these websites (or malware if you are actually infected) tend to prevent you from closing them through normal means. What you will often need to do is to right click your task bar and select “task manager” and then force close either your internet browser of the malware program.
Keep in mind, a good antivirus program will go quite a long ways in stopping you from accidentally visiting an infected website or getting infected by this kind of attack. If you happen to be facing either situation at the moment and aren’t sure what to do, please call us right away for advice. NEVER call the number listed in the error!
A quick video:
This short video gives a fairly accurate look at what a call from “Microsoft” looks like. And what we may or may not do if we have some spare time on our hands when we receive these calls…
So you might be looking at one of these situations. Now what?
Are you pretty sure it’s a scam? Officially, hang up on them! Unofficially… we may or may not advocate wasting as much of time as possible and actively working to drive them crazy.
Not sure if it’s a scam or not? Call us right away! We can very quickly tell you if you have a legitimate threat or not. And if you do, why go through them? You know us and our reputation. We will handle all of the techy work for you and make sure you are back up and running in no time!
We are here and ready to help out should you ever need us!
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