Microsoft combat scams

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Microsoft are taking aggressive action against scammers, who use their good name in order to trick the unwary. With complaints racking up, Microsoft want to stamp out scams.

I’m sure most, if not all, of you have experienced these kinds of calls: “My system is telling me you have a virus on your computer.” Or even more insidious: “Hello Mrs/Mr. [Your name], I work for Microsoft and we are calling to help with your PC.”

Microsoft have warned that scammers could be very active over the Christmas period.All that seemingly innocuous information that we plaster all over the internet can be easily gathered and used to make this kind of scam much more convincing, and therefore effective.


An end to scams?

I asked Mark James whether he thought this kind of scam might come to an end.

“I don’t think it will die out any time soon, far too many people still fall for this type of scam, and while that happens they will still continue to make money doing it.

“Often the reason this type of scam works is the way they trick you into checking your machine to look for any problems.

“This often coupled with the old yarn about slowness ( or lockups ) that virtually any machine if not properly managed will suffer from time to time will go on to strengthen their argument.”


Microsoft’s Advice

The BBC article features the following tips direct from Microsoft on the issue:

  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription for the services. If there is, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to the third party unless you can confirm it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team at a company of which 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.

I asked Mark if he had anything to add to the list.

“Whilst the Microsoft tips are good I personally would go even further and state if you did NOT initiate the call then just be polite and hang up immediately DO NOT get in any type of discussion.

“And do not ever allow them to connect to your machine for any reason not even just to “show” you what’s wrong.”

Mark concludes that “if you have a concern about your machine then speak to your friends or relatives to find a computer “guru” we all have one, and failing that find a local computer shop and ask them to take a look, make sure you get a quote upfront with NO added fees and then allow them to sort it for you.”

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Have you ever been caught out by a scam? Do you know anyone that had?

This is going to be the last blog post for a little while, as I’m off until the 5th of January. Happy Holidays and have fun!