Computer owners are being warned to watch out for bogus callers claiming to be from Microsoft once again, following a recent spate of phone calls. [27 November 2011]
The scammers cold call victims, claiming to be Microsoft engineers. The fraudsters claim Microsoft’s remote security system has detected a problem on the victims’ computers. If successful, the victims help the fraudsters gain remote access to their computers. This can give fraudsters access to personal information held on the computer, including account log-in information and bank details, which can be used to commit fraud. Victims’ can also end up being asked to pay for these ‘fixes’ the fraudster has made to their computer.
Protect yourself from Microsoft scams
- Be suspicious of unsolicited calls related to a security problem, even if they claim to represent a respected company.
- Never provide personal information, such as credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited caller.
- Do not go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.
- Take the caller’s information down and pass it to the authorities.
- Use up-to-date versions of Windows and application software.
- Make sure security updates are installed regularly.
- Use a strong password and change it regularly.
- Make sure the firewall is turned on and that antivirus software is installed and up to date.
- Microsoft Security Essentials is a free antivirus product and is available at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security_essentials/default.aspx.
Microsoft advises anyone who thinks they may already have been a victim of a phone scam to do the following:
- Change their computer’s password, change the password on their main email account and change the password for any financial accounts, especially bank and credit cards.
- Scan their computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if they have malware installed on their computer.
- Contact their bank and credit card companies.
If you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud.
Read more about the latest spate of bogus Microsoft phone calls on Essex Police’s website.
Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online reporting tool.