Microsoft phone scam
The latest variation of the Microsoft phone scam has left some victims hundreds of dollars out of pocket.
A caller from a company called Quantum PC Support claims to be calling on behalf of Microsoft. Supposedly your computer, along with computers belonging to a lot of other people in your area, has been sending reports to Microsoft regarding system problems and/or virus infections.
The scam typically unfolds in the following manner:
- The cold caller, claiming to be a representative of Microsoft tells the victim (you) they are checking into a computer problem, infection or virus that has been detected by Microsoft.
- They tell the victim they can help and direct them to a website that then allows the scammers to take remote control of the computer.
- The cold caller will then spend some time on the computer trying to demonstrate where the ‘problems’ are and in the process convinces the victim to pay a fee for a service that will “fix” the computer.
- As part of the process they will ask you to type in several commands which will take you into MSConfig or the Services list and they will point out alleged problems. Don’t be fooled!
One of our clients came in recently with a phone number, the name of the caller and a Reference ID for the call. When you ring the number either hangs up or you may get an actual person answer. When you ask for the person whose name you were given they proceed to patch you through but the phone misteriously hangs up. We tried several fictitiuos names and the same thing happens every time.
The phone number looks like a legitimate phone number but is in fact an interner phone number which goes off to an overseas location.
“In reality, there is nothing wrong with their computer but the scammer has tricked the consumer into believing there is a problem and that paying the fee is the best way to get it fixed. Often they will also push the customer to buy a one year computer maintenance subscription. They are just trying to scam innocent Australians out of money,” said Stuart Strathdee, Microsoft Australia’s chief security advisor.
Strathdee also said that the callers presented themselves in a professional manner and sounded genuine.
“Don’t be fooled, Microsoft is not cold calling consumers in regards to malfunctioning PCs, viruses or any other matter,” he said.
“We strongly advise Australians to simply hang up if they receive a call of this nature and not to respond to any communications from these scammers.
If you’re not sure, contact Microsoft on 13 20 58 or the Police,.