„HELLO. This is Microsoft tech support and we have detected a serious virus in your computer and we need you to log on right away so we can help you.“
Have you ever received a phone call like this, without you actually requesting support? The call itself should already raise your suspicions. However, when you are asked to provide your personal data or credit card credentials, warning lights should be flashing.
Recently journalists, bloggers, and even Microsoft itself warn against the “Microsoft calling scam“. The Microsoft phone scam is just one example of the thousands of similar offers reported daily. Scammers can be very creative and do not hesitate to take advantage of people’s trust. They are well prepared and trained, so we need to beware and ready to react fast.
What should raise you suspicions?
- You received a call with an offer of a service you have never requested
- You received a call / email / social media message claiming you won a prize in the contest you have never participated
- The person contacting you is very insistant and wants you to provide acces to your personal data or to pay in order to receive support or a prize
- The person contacting you doesn’t provide his/her full contact details
- The person contacting you requests access to your PC, personal information, or credit card.
What to do, if you suspect it’s a scam
- Ask how they got your number or contact information
- Ensure you have all details of the person contacting you: name, surname, phone number, name of the institution on behalf of which they are calling
- If you are still not comfortable about authenticity of the service, ask for their contact details, then verify it online, and contact them back
- Never give anybody the ability to remote control your computer, unless you are 100% sure that you are talking to an official representative of the service you actually require
- Ask for the cost of the call and the service, and if there is any hesitation, hang up immediately
- Never provide your credit card information via email or phone
What to do if you become a scam victim
- Report it to the local authorities
- If someone has already accessed your PC, imediately change your password
- Download or update the avast! Free Antivirus
- Run a boot time scan to ensure there is no malicious file installed on your device
AVASTtip: In general, use the common sense and simply be careful. If you didn’t request the service or you have never participated in the competition, and suddenly you receive a wonderful offer via phone, email or Social Media, you can trust that this is not a genuine offer. Always verify the authenticity of any offer, and do not easily provide access to your confidential data to strangers.