The Microsoft tech support scam

This scam begins with a person calling or emailing you pretending to be a member of “Microsoft Support.” They will try to alarm you by saying your machine is compromised by a virus or other malicious malware. The scammer will then ask you to join a remote session in order for them to connect and fix your machine. Don’t fall for it! This is an attempt by them to access your machine to steal documents, install key loggers, or even install ransomware. These things will eventually give them access to your passwords and entire machine. At the end of this they may request for payment for their “services” or for software that they say you need to protect your machine against other threats. This is all part of their scheme to make money, not protect your machine.

How to avoid a scam

  • Do not supply your personal information by phone, email, Instant Message, chat, or over a remote session
  • Use caution when answering emails or calls from support agents that you have no prior history with. Remember that unsolicited calls or emails rarely occur even for valid reasons.
  • Trust your instincts. If the person on the other end seems even a bit suspicious, hang up the phone or delete the email.
  • Research! If someone you don’t know calls or emails you try searching who they say they are/work for, it may be that you see reports right away that it’s a scam. If the business exists, make sure to check the numbers listed to the one that called in, if applicable. You could also simply hang up or the delete the email and reach out to them to make sure the reason for contact is true.
  • Know what a product is and what it can do before you install it on your machine