Avoiding technical support scams

by Korey Knapper
Site Coordinator, Information Technologies

Cybercriminals don’t just send fraudulent email messages. They might call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft or set up websites with persistent pop-ups displaying fake warning messages and a phone number to call and get the “issue” fixed. They might also offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:

  • Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
  • Convince you to visit legitimate websites to download software that will allow them to take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.

“Remember, Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication we have with you must be initiated by you.”

Microsoft’s error and warning messages never include a phone number and we do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer. Cybercriminals may call you and claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support. Once the crooks have gained your trust, they attempt to steal from you and damage your computer with malicious software including viruses and spyware.

Although law enforcement can trace phone numbers, perpetrators often use pay phones, disposable cellular phones, or stolen cellular phone numbers. It’s better to avoid being conned rather than try to repair the damage afterwards.

If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support, hang up. We do not make these kinds of calls.

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