3 basic life skills:
I mention the last one because there are increasing reports of unsolicited calls offering technical support some of whom pretend they are working for Microsoft. These are not going to be from Microsoft, they could legitimately be from a Microsoft partner trying to promote their services. However you might want to think about who you would trust to remotely manage your home PC with all your personal details on, credit card and direct debits, contact details. So find out who you are talking to and verify who they are – it won’t be Microsoft. You’ll only get a call from Microsoft if you’ve raised an incident with support in which case they’ll give you a reference which anyone else contacting you will be able to verify.
You also want to be sure people are who they say they are, so take a number and ring them back. I do this myself and so if my bank calls I won’t go through security, I offer to call them back to check I really am talking to them, it might confuse them but it’s my money.
I have had a few e-mails asking me what Microsoft is doing to prevent this:
So privacy and identity is and should be your own affair, and you need to protect your online identity in just the same way as you protect your children and your home.
"... take a number and ring them back ..."
Bad idea - anyone who's trying to scam you isn't going to have a problem giving your their telephone number. "Sure, you can call me back on 1-800-EVIL-BADGUYS."
Instead you should use a reputable source to find the number for the company they claim to be calling from, and call that number. If they're genuine, they should be able to give you some sort of reference so that whoever answers the phone can route your call correctly.
I completely agree for the help desk thing. However if it's your bank, etc. then ring back is defintiely a plan
I'm not saying you shouldn't ring them back; I'm saying you shouldn't ring them back on a number they give you, which seemed to be the implication of your suggestion to "take a number and ring them back".
You should always use a number from a trusted source, and someone on the end of the phone claiming to be from your bank doesn't qualify as "trusted".