Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Telephone Scam - Caller Claims to be from Microsoft

We've become aware of an increasingly common scam which has taken in a number of our customers as well as hearing word of it from family and friends. One of our engineers also had the scam call, so we were able to gain first-hand knowledge of what happens.

The scam is well-documented here on The Guardian's website but we also know that more stubborn recipients of the call (like our engineer) will be asked to perform other so-called checks (like CheckDisk/CHKDSK) to see how your PC is running in addition to looking at the Event Viewer. These routines always display something designed to alarm you and to make you think something is wrong with your PC. You're then asked to go to a website where the caller can then fix these for you. People are then directed to payment websites in order to pay for the service. However, the caller will often remain connected to your PC, disabling your anti-virus protection and installing trojans and key-loggers. They'll then get access to credit cards and bank details and try and get as much as they can.

Microsoft's online privacy policy regarding security is worth reviewing. They never cold-call to fix problems. All calls of this nature should be treated with high levels of skepticism.

Hopefully, you will not receive a call like this, but if you do, just hang up. If you do think you may have been a victim of this scam, you should contact Quad or other trusted technical support to ensure your computer is protected. Make sure system updates, virus and spyware protection are up to date. Contact any relevant bank, credit card or online payment services and notify them of the possible identity theft. Be vigilent unexplained charges on any accounts and check credit reports, if you think you may have fallen foul.

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