We’ve talked a lot about digital security, but cybercriminals can be sneaky and have been accessing public phone directories to reach out to Microsoft users to try to scam information from them. They are smart and may have additional information about you and will often guess which operating system you are using. It may seem convincing, but don’t be too quick to trust.
Recent months have shown an uptick in scam phone calls pretending to be from Microsoft. These scammers can convince you to give them access to your computer, sell you software and take your information. It’s important to know what to look for to keep yourself protected.
Here are 3 ways to protect yourself from a scam phone call:
Know what to look for
Scammers are relatively predictable. This works in your favor because you’ll be able to learn their tricks. If you know what they are likely to say then you’ll be more protected from being convinced to give them any information.
Scammers often claim to be from:
Windows Service Center
Microsoft Tech Support
Windows Technical Department Support Group
Microsoft Research and Development Team
As soon as you know a caller is claiming to be with anything related to Microsoft, gather information so you are able to report the caller and work to end the call quickly.
Here are some of the things Microsoft will ask for when you report a scammer:
Name of caller
Address of company
Phone number of company
Website of company
Do your best to gather as much as possible, but be sure and report whatever you are able to gather.
Never make a purchase from an inbound call
Many scammers try to use scare tactics to win you over to their side. They commonly call pretending to be from Microsoft and inform you a virus on your computer. After they convince you of the danger your computer (and information) is in they will try to sell you on their product or service. There are many different scams but they are often trying to sell you on an extended warranty, virus removal or any number of helpful sounding products.
As a good rule of thumb, if someone is calling you offering you a service for your computer, say no. You can reach out to a professional to have them assess your computer for any viruses or other problems.
Microsoft doesn’t make calls
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that Microsoft doesn’t make calls. They sell computers and it’s up to you to manage your device. They won’t be calling to tell you your computer is running slow or that you have a virus.
The scammers are trying to win your trust by using a well known name and offering to help solve your computer problems. If you get a call, collect information so you can report them and hang up. Do not provide the callers with any personal information, make any purchases from them or let them connect to your computer. Treat any unsolicited call with extreme skepticism.
If you’ve been the victim of a scam call…
There are steps you can take if you believe you have downloaded malware from a tech support scam. Here is how you can protect yourself even after you have been the victim of a scam call:
Change your computer’s password
Change all your passwords (email, bank, social media, credit cards)
Scan for malware
If you’re concerned about the security of your computer after interacting with a spam caller, bring your computer in today. We can scan for viruses and malware and help you protect your information.