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Is your Computer On?

Is your Computer On?

I received a call from someone who claimed that my computer had been identified by Microsoft as vulnerable. I thought it sounded fake, and I told them that I had no way to know if they were who they said they were. Then they said they could prove that they were from Microsoft by giving me my serial number if I would let them “look” into my PC for troubles

Is this call a scam?

Yes. This is a scam. This is not a legitimate call from Microsoft. Neither Microsoft nor their partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) about your computer security or software fixes.

I tell my clients that if you receive a call like this one, it’s a scam, and all you need to do is hang up. Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories, so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you’re using. It’s still a scam. Once cybercriminals gain your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to help them connect remotely that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information are vulnerable.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

Although law enforcement can trace phone numbers, perpetrators often use pay phones, disposable cellular phones, or stolen cellular phone numbers. It’s better to avoid being conned rather than try to repair the damage afterwards.

This Microsoft impersonation scam has been around since at least 2015 and has been run on computer users in numerous countries, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and England. The usual setup is for the scammers to call you and identify themselves as technicians from Microsoft (or some Microsoft-related company), then tell you that your Windows-based computer has a virus (or other problem) that is causing it to generate all sorts of error messages on the Internet and many bad things will happen if you don’t correct the issue immediately. And the handy techs who just called you are ready to step in and solve your problem — for a fee, of course.

I would say hang up, don’t’ give out your credit card number, but these people have skill sets that we do not have. They are very good actors, using programs to ping your IP, which tells them a lot about you, your location, and who your service provider is.  The hard part is that we try to be honest in our daily lives, and trust in our fellow man, to the point of “why would anyone lie to me?” It must be true.

This is the time of year to be cautious, between tax scams, Fake IRS agents, and Microsoft Calling you, it just proves how much we take the legitimacy of the internet for granted. You tell your kids that not everything on the internet is real, you check the Halloween candy for pins, and open wrappers, because you know not everyone has good intensions, so why would someone with a bad dialect who you can’t understand, be monitoring your pc and watching it give out errors?

If you suspect your PC has been infected, or you have had a Microsoft Tech “look” at it over the phone, I suggest you get into Hunt Technology for a full system diagnosis.

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