Ring ring. It’s the telephone. You answer it.
“We've detected rogue software on your computer. We can take care of it for you; we'll just need your credit card number,” says a voice.
What do you do?
If you’re anything like one-fifth of the people who received this phony call, your response would sound something like: “Do you take Visa?”
According to the Windows Security Blog, at least 1,000 Microsoft users received this sort of phone call from a “Tech Support Agent”. The agent, who said he was from Microsoft, said that he needed to remote access their PC to resolve the issue.
Unfortunately for users, it was all a scam. The phone call, the agent, the ‘PC problems’ – none of it was legitimate. The Windows Security Blog said that this is the perfect way for hackers to access personal information. Often, users are even advised to install a remote access code so that scammers will have full access to the PC.
Out of the 1,000 people, 234 people fell for the scam and 184 of them lost money. The average amount charged to each user’s credit card was $800.
In order to avoid such scams in the future, Microsoft is advising their customers to be more vigilant about giving out personal information over the phone. They also said that customers never receive legitimate phone calls from Microsoft where charges for automatic fixes will be applicable.
Users were advised to never give control of your computer to a third party (unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.) Also, never give out your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech. Microsoft rarely makes the first call if you did not initiate the call to them first. Also, be sure to ask upfront if you will have to purchase any software or pay a fee or subscription associated with the "service." If there is, Microsoft advises you to hang up.