There is a very common cold calling scam where you receive a phone call from a company claiming to be ‘Microsoft’ or a Microsoft approved service provider, and they are calling about a virus on your computer.
Quite often the caller has a thick Indian accent and they say that your computer is reporting errors or warnings and is infected with a virus. They say that they have been alerted by your computer and want to provide you with help and support to remove this virus. For a price…
First of all, before you read any further, this is most definitely a Scam.
Microsoft do not make these type of phonecalls, ever.
The computer-savvy person will probably recognise this as a scam straightaway, but older people who receive the call are often convinced to part with money for a so-called ‘fix’ software which they download from the web.
The person on the end of the phone usually has an Indian sounding accent and if you listen carefully they are probably in a call centre where everyone around them is reading off the same script.
The callers sound convincing and will tell you to check certain things on your computer, like the Event Viewer or look up a code.
Whatever you find in the event viewer, and there will always be errors here even on a perfectly healty computer, they will try to use this information to scare you into action.
They will try to scare you by saying your computer is in imminent danger of crashing and you losing all your data forever.
Or that there is a really bad virus on your computer that is eating all of your data and stealing your bank account and online shopping details.
If you let them carry on, they will ask you to go to a website and download some software that will help them fix the problem. But often this is where they will ask for your credit card details…
The price they charge seems to vary from £100 or $100 up to many hundreds. I have read about cases where over $500 has been asked for, and unsuspecting people have agreed to pay it.
When there is money like that involved, you can see why they do this. Sadly, if only one person that they call in an hour forks over their money, it is worth it to them.
Don’t download whatever they try to get you to download. This thing is a complete scam.
You might not have any viruses on your computer now, but by the time they are done with you, you will have.
The software they will install could be doing anything from stealing your online banking details or website logins. Or it could track your website usage and steal your personal informatino for identity theft purposes.
So please don’t give them any money and please don’t download anything from the web that they tell you to download.
Some good ways to get rid of the callers are,
- Tell them you don’t have a computer
- Tell them your computer is an Apple Mac, so you don’t have Microsoft Windows
- Tell them that your internet is not working, so you can’t download their software
Or simply just hang up on them. They might call you back, just feel free just to hang up on them every time.
It’s worth repeating, Microsoft never make calls like this.
Some people try to have a little fun with the callers, asking how the weather is in India, or pretend to play along checking things when their computer isn’t even turned on. If you choose to do that, then have fun!
Have you or a family member received this call? What happened? Tell us your story.