Because of the recent and continued phone scams I have heard of some of my customers receiving after the fact and after, most importantly, the damage has already been done (in excess of over $1000 for one, and another having his PC locked out by a Windows login password the “tech guy” enabled while he had gained remote access to the PC), I must post this again, which was previously from my former blog of Dragon PC Training. I figured this would be the best one to start off with until I get more up soon in regards to other issues I have been facing with my customers who didn’t want to take the Dragon’s advice and ended up getting burned because of it in the near future. The Dragon is here to help you, not take your money and run like the lovely “tech support” people below do and local tech support my customer’s told me horror stories about.
For a few years now, there have been these odd calls going out to people’s houses who claim they are from “Windows” or some other Microsoft-sounding name. They state your computer has been sending out some strange crap and they want you to go on your computer and type in a few commands and tell you about the “bad files” located on the computer. After they do that, they will have you do other stuff and then remotely log into your PC and tell you how bad it is and then tell you it will be $200 or so to repair such things.
Here is some info about this straight from Microsoft’s own website:
Avoid tech support phone scams
Cybercriminals don’t just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. They might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:
- Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
- Take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
- Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
- Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.
Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.
Telephone tech support scams: What you need to know
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.
Once they’ve gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.
Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.
Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:
- Windows Helpdesk
- Windows Service Center
- Microsoft Tech Support
- Microsoft Support
- Windows Technical Department Support Group
- Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)
Report phone scams
Learn about how to report phone fraud in the United States. Outside of the US, contact your local authorities.
How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams
If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you:
- Do not purchase any software or services.
- Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
- 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.
- Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.
What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person
If you think you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:
- Change your computer’s password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
- Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.
- Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charge you for it, this is also a scam.)
Will Microsoft ever call me?
There are some cases where Microsoft will work with your Internet service provider and call you to fix a malware-infected computer—such as during the recent cleanup effort begun in our botnet takedown actions. These calls will be made by someone with whom you can verify you already are a customer. You will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft or our partners to charge you for computer fixes.
You can also read a Snopes.com article about it as well located at: http://www.snopes.com/fraud/telephone/microsoft.asp
I always wanted to get a call from them but since I only use a cell phone, I am not able to have that luxury ……until today! I was at a customer’s house who had received this call a few times already in the past. While I was at their house today training them on their PC, the same “tech person” called again. She knew this because she recognized the number. I told her to answer it and then give the phone to me. After she passed the phone over to me, I told her I was her husband and she had to use the restroom. Here is the rest of the call in its entirety sans customer’s name and number:
This conversation is no longer available for listening. I’ll see if I can find it again soon.
Notice in the call, I said something to the affect of “there is bad stuff on the computer?” The “tech person” said no yet says he wants me to turn on the PC so he can show me where the bad elements are. Odd, I thought he said there was no bad things on the computer? They are also from “Microtech” based in Clearwater FL but the main headquarters are in Texas. Interesting. If you ever get one of these calls, just tell them to go “F” themselves and hang up, or, at least, just hang up the phone. Reporting them will do nothing and staying on the phone with them is just a waste of time.So, remember this people. DON’T BE A VICTIM!! HANG UP THE PHONE!
Why am I warning all of you? Simply because…. I have a few customer who were TOO CLOSE to being victims until they hung up the phone and told me what happened! Since then, they haven’t had any more problems.This is a special report from the one and only… Dragon!
Have a great day and safe computing!