The BBC reporting that 3.3 million Americans will fall victim to the fake PC support scam in 2015, and be conned out of $1.5billion (£1 billion)
In the UK too, this scam has been used to con people out of money. Somebody calls, saying that they are from Microsoft, and they proceed to show how the computer is riddled with viruses. They will then install software remotely on the computer to help with the viruses. But instead of helping, this software slows the computer down, and prevents normal use. The only way to make things right again is to pay them. But of course, they keep coming back for more.
We have written about this before (Microsoft doesn't telephone you) and various other national newspapers have written stories on it. But nothing seems to be happening. I for one would like to see Microsoft spend money on advertising campaigns where the message is simple, "Microsoft will never call you to do technical support". Maybe it's unfair that Microsoft have to spend the money on that advertising but too many people fall victim to this because they trust the Microsoft brand name. By not dealing with this head on, Microsoft is allowing criminals to damage their brand name.
On a Microsoft blog they do give some tips on how to avoid being scammed. Although it's directed at an American audience it is still very relevant to us in the UK.
Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls to charge people for computer security or software fixes. If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you:I would go one further, if somebody calls you and says that they are offering technical support on your computer, and you are not expecting their call, hang up.
- Do not purchase any software or services.
- Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
- Do not give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
- Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
- Do not provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.