Consumer Alert: Microsoft Masquerader Scam

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Consumer alert

This weekend I received a telephone call from Microsoft. At least that’s what the caller said. The caller said I have malware on my PC that is sending messages, which Microsoft has been monitoring, and has a solution for me.  Imagine how happy I was that Microsoft was taking such good care of me!

 

Too good to be true?

Of course, it is.

It has been widely reported that a large, growing number of individuals are getting a phone call from a “Microsoft employee” who claim that their PC has recognized a virus on it.

In my case, a man identified himself as being from “Microsoft Tech Support” and said he had identified that my computer had a virus. He wanted me to go to my PC right away so that he could tell me how to get rid of it.  I asked him to send me whatever instructions I needed to my email address and that I would look into it.  Unfortunately, he “couldn’t” do that.

 

Ask Questions

I asked him where he was located and calling from.  He told me he was calling from Microsoft in Phoenix, Arizona. He then gave me a telephone number to call him back when I could sit at my PC and have him help me remove the malware.  This number was 347-227-6900.  When I search this number, I found numerous references to this scam. Most of the people who had been contacted seem to have understood that this was not legitimate communication from Microsoft and terminated the call.

 

Know the manufacturer

Microsoft’s Online Safety and Security Centre states that neither Microsoft, nor its partners, make unsolicited phone calls.  According to Microsoft, once these scammers have access to your PC they can install malware, steal information, and/or take remote control of your PC

Apparently, these scammers claim to be from Windows Helpdesk, Windows Service Center, Microsoft Support, or as in my case, Microsoft Tech Support.

 

Stay safe

Protect yourself and others by keeping informed about potential scam artists. If you need help, reach out to your service provider, your IT/computer support person or team, or a reputable local computer company with a good track record and local location. Your local Chamber of Commerce can help you locate such a firm.

 

Never give out personal information to someone you don’t know. Never give control of your PC to someone you don’t know. If the caller claims there is a security problem on your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly.

Stay safe and secure.

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