The Microsoft Scam
The Microsoft Scam, as it is known, has been around for nearly a decade in some form or other. It is a scam that’s designed to prey on computer users who are less savvy with technology and perhaps too trusting of strangers.
What’s the Technique?
The Microsoft Scam normally starts out with an innocent-sounding phone call. This makes it all too easy for the person on the other end of the phone to groom their victims, after all, telephones have been around for decades, and many people see no risk involved with using them.
Once the scammer has established a call with a would-be victim, there are typically three routes that they might take, to try and steal sensitive data or money from you.
The quickest and easiest way for a scammer to get their hands on your cash is to have you hand it over to them voluntarily. The caller may tell you that they can resolve the fictitious problem with your computer, but ask that you pay for their services, first. Of course, once you’ve paid them, they’ll end the call and move onto their next victim, taking your money with them.
Downloading Harmful Software
The scammer may choose not to ask for your payment details, or perhaps you’ve refused to hand them over. Instead, they may have you download a file that contains a virus designed to record all of your passwords, granting them access to your bank accounts, email inboxes and more.
Remote Access to Your Computer
A third alternative to the scam is for the scammer to request access to your computer remotely. This means that they establish a connection from their computer to yours. Under the right circumstances, this isn’t an issue; in fact, many companies like ours use this method to help solve computer issues without the need to send an Engineer to your home. But in the wrong hands, it could mean giving the scammer access to all of your personal files, logins, photos and emails.
How to Avoid the Scam
One of the most straight-forward ways to beat the scammers is to remember that no stranger knows what’s going on with your computer. If you receive a call from a person or a company that you don’t recognise, and you haven’t already contacted them to request assistance, then there’s no way for them to know what’s going on with your computer, nor whether you have any problems with it.
Treat these calls in the same way that you’d treat a call from a stranger asking for your online banking information. If you have any doubts, then end the call, and if it would help put your mind at rest, give us at WiseGuys a call to talk it through. We can most likely immediately tell you if the call was a fake, as well as give you any other real advice you may need.
Staying Alert – Common Scams to Be Aware Of
The Microsoft Scam is one of the more well-known pitfalls of the scamming world, and owing to the fact that Windows is installed on the vast majority of computers used within the home, it’s a catch-all technique that would-be criminals can use to target a very large group of people.
However, it pays to be alert to other potential scams out there. Check out our artice on some other Common Internet and Phone Scams to make sure you don't get caught out.
There are more scams out there and they are constantly evolving. We can’t list them all, but we can give you three of the most important pieces of advice that you can bear in mind.
1. Don’t click on anything you don’t recognise.
2. Don’t install programs from an unknown source or company.
3. Don’t hand over any personal information to strangers.
Remember we are always here if you need us. If you’d like to hear more about keeping yourself and your data safe online, then please get in touch on 0808 123 2820.