SEATTLE – A phone scam involving someone claiming to be from Microsoft may put you and your computer at risk.
The Better Business Bureau said a caller is claiming to be from the software company and offers to solve a consumer’s computer problems or sell him or her a software license. The BBB said it’s all an effort to gain remote access to the consumer’s computer.
One potential victim, Pam Webster, almost immediately recognized the call from a “Microsoft employee” was bogus. Webster said she realized the instructions the caller was giving her to remove a virus were the same instructions her IT department needs when it wants remote access to her computer. She realized it in time and didn’t complete the process.
Microsoft tells the BBB that once a scammer has remote access to a computer, they can install malicious software, steal personal information or direct consumers to bogus websites in order to get access to their credit card information.
According to Microsoft’s Online Safety and Security Centre, Microsoft nor its partners make unsolicited phone calls.
The scammers may claim to be from Windows Helpdesk; Windows Service Center; Microsoft Tech Support; Microsoft Support; Windows Technical Department Support Group, or; Microsoft Research and Development Team.
If you get a call like this, hang up. Never give out your personal information to someone you don’t know. Instead, call your service provider or computer company directly. Also be sure to install virus detection software.