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A few weeks ago, I was surprised to get a call from Microsoft offering to help “fix my window”. This was surprising because:
My window wasn’t broken and having worked at Microsoft for a while, I’m pretty sure we don’t do home repairs.
When I replied that I didn’t realize that Microsoft had anything to do with the windows on my house and there wasn’t anything wrong with them, the caller quickly set me straight. This was about my computer and he was going to help me, all I had to do was give him some information and then install a program on my PC.
While I was mildly amused by the exchange, I ended the call there without handing out any of my information or installing any programs. I knew this was a scam and that it’s been making the rounds since the late summer of last year. The company changes, but the theme is always the same. All of you reading this know it’s a scam too.
We’re fortunate to work in technology and know that this doesn’t pass the sniff test and something stinks about it. Our friends and family aren’t quite as lucky. I’m sure I’m not the only one that can attest to someone I know falling for this scam. And when they do, they’re embarrassed, they don’t want to talk about it, but they do want help to fix it. After all, if you work in IT, you’ve become the default tech support for your friends and family.
The best way to help those friends and family members that rely on you for tech support is to arm them with information. Not only are you helping them, you’re helping yourself, if they avoid the scam, you avoid having to clean it up.
There’s a great infographic that some of the folks here at Microsoft Canada have put together about how to avoid phone scams that you can use to educate yourself, so you can educate others. I’ve included it below.
Do you have any other helpful tips for others to avoid these types of scams?
Edward_b, I need to figure out what you're doing, becuase they still call me, at least I can get off the phone with them pretty quickly:)
Had a few of these calls, and know a couple of people who have admited to being scammed. On the first call I asked for their call back information and they gave me someone else's info! On the most recent call I told them they were full of it and the guy got quite pushy - fortunately with a phone call you are always in control - click!
I will share the infographic with my less technical friends.
Thanks for sharing your story and also for passing this along to others it may help!
The best way to see if this is a scam or not is just to say that you work for the company. I have personally received two calls "from Microsoft" asking to fix my computer. It was funny because I know that Microsoft does not call customers directly out of the blue.
When I mentioned to the tech that I worked for Microsoft (even thought I do not) he immediately ended the call.
@Chris : WEll, the scammers have stopped. But now I and others are getting credit cards scammers as well. You receive an automated call with a woman’s voice with a messagle like “This is your second and final call regarding getting better interest rates on your credit cards…” Of course, you never got it the first time. The number usually is 250-352-9679. If you Big the message, you will see others within the last few weeks got it as well. In one case someone played around with the guy on the phone. The guy says that your credit cards aren't good. You ask what are they like but the guy responsed with vague information.
Not hard to figure out that a good chunk of the population has a Visa and MasterCard and some with both. Just like most Canadians will have either Bell, Shaw, Telus or Videotron [depending on region] for Internet access and about 90% of computer users have a Windows computer with maybe half of those with Windows XP and most of the rest with Windows 7.
They called me a few months ago & I fell for it.....when I noticed they took my Visa info, I immediately got upset & cried & explained I was a senior at home w/a terminal illness & begged them to not touch my account, I needed it for medical reasons. I put it on a bit thick then hung-up on them. I immediately called my bank when I noticed they had taken out over $200 & advised the bank of their call (Windows Support), they told me to change my password & would keep an eye on my account for me. Then about a week later they credited my account except for $25 & I was so relieved, guess my caller had a heart. Thing is, they keep calling & I get upset & tell them to take my number off their phone list. They call w/the info of 'unknown name private number so be very careful. I am in Canada as well. will share this info on my FaceBook right now & thank you so much. If they call again, I will tell them their call is recorded & police are aware of their calls.....bet they will hang-up on me first, LOL.
Received a call like this on the 9th (I'm in Calgary), and its simply hilarious just listening on how they are trying to scam you. The guy "transferred" me to internal tech support (he hit 2 and 8 on his phone to make it seem legit), and then altered his indian voice to something a little deeper. Bahahaha.
I've had one such call and decided to "play along".
He directed me to Windows Explorer and had me navigate to:
C:\WINDOWS\inf then told me that all those *.inf files were evidence of infection. When he tried to get me to pay for support (after about 20 minutes of wasting his time) he eventually realized this call was going nowhere.
No such calls since (but hundreds of offers to clean my air ducts)
Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope it helps some other readers. I'm glad to hear there was a silver lining. I really appreciate that you'll share this with your friends and family to help spread the word.
I tend to hang up and not engage, but if you let them know you're on to the scam, that may help end the calls.
@Jeff, I agree, it's pretty amazing the lengths they'll go to so they sound legit.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Just like with the others that have shared, hopefully it helps someone else avoid the scam. I'm glad to hear the calls have ended for you. Unfortunately, I don't think I can help you with those calls about your air ducts:)
Thanks for sharing your experience. It really does seem like the moment they think you're on to the scam, they bail on the call and hopefully don't call back again (or at least as often).
Hi Edward_b, thanks for sharing the info on this newer credit card scam. I guess when one dries up, they move to the next. Hopefully others find this useful so they don't fall victim.
Tell them that you or a family member works for the company that they are claiming to represent...they hang up very quickly....
Tell them that there must be a mistake....you don't own a computer...that works as well!
Same thing for whatever service that they claim to represent..."I don't use that particular service provider, if you would like I can write your company a letter to confirm that detail...what's the address of your head office?"