With the release of Windows 10 there has been an increase in Windows Scams. There is a new email scam going around to and the Microsoft Call Center scam calls have increased. I have noticed that since the release I have gotten two phone calls from the “Microsoft Call Center” in a short time. Also in the news recently there was an alert about a bogus email claiming that Microsoft was upgrading users to Windows 10 via email. Anyone who does click on the link in the email can find their computers taken over by the scammers and will be forced to pay a ransom to get it released back to them.
On August 16, 2015 I got another one of those Microsoft Call Center Scam phone calls. It came in at 9:14 P.M. my time, which puts it 14 minutes outside the allowed call time mandated by the FTC. The phone call was very short. You can read about my past experiences in these two blog posts: Scam Tech Support Phone Calls and Scam Tech Support Phone Calls Updated.
Here are two videos that shows how the scam works:
This one is a bit longer:
A simple search on YouTube shows multiple videos of the same nature. All showing what the calls entail and how they work to get a person to allow access to their computer. All the phone calls sound similar, “you have a problem with your computer and we are calling you to fix the issues.” If the computer isn’t on they want you to turn on the computer. In 2013 when I spent more time on the call with the Microsoft Call Center technician I never went to, or turned on, my computer nor did I have any intention to; so, I never got to the next step in the phone call.
From the video’s I watched the next step in the scam is to direct the person to different areas of the computer to scare them. They claim that the information shown on the screen are dangerous infections that they must clean. These are supposed to be very serious viruses; but first you need to download and use a Windows remote sharing program. As mentioned in the video’s above the areas that they take a person to are normal; and are not “dangerous viruses”. After the remote sharing software is installed and they have control it appears that they take the person to a form to enter in credit/debit card information. In both videos you can see the retaliation the scammers take, or attempt to take, when the person takes too long or appears to be on to the scam and entering in fake information on the payment screen.
At the point that the remote sharing session is started they can control your computer. They can upload, download, delete, or modify any location that they see fit. You can actually still move the mouse and close the remote access session and close the software; however, they really don’t want you to do that.
Some things that you can do:
- Do not answer “unknown”, “unavailable”, “blocked” etc. phone calls.
- If you do immediately hang up. Do not get into a conversation with them and don’t press any buttons to be taken off their list.
- Do not allow them remote access to your computer.
- If your computer has the feature “remote access” make sure that it is turned off. To find it enter in “remote access” to the search. It can also be found in “System Properties” on the last tab.
- Do not download anything from them, or go to any website that they recommend.
- Report the scam to the FTC ; for phone calls if you are on the Do Not Call List report the call at the Do Not Call Complaint area.
- Report the scam to Microsoft
- Do not give your personal information, including credit/debit card data to anyone over the phone.
- Employ good password practices. Including changing any default password on your electronic devices (modem, security cameras, baby monitor, etc.). Don’t share your passwords or store them on the computer.
- Keep System Restore turned on and create System Restore points.
- Have a backup of your important files, and programs, in another location on disc or an external hard drive.
- Keep your antivirus, anti malware software up to date.
Links/references in post:
Consumerist 8/3/2015 “Scam Alert Microsoft is not upgrading computers to Windows 10 through email.”
FTC Calling Time Restrictions (https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/complying-telemarketing-sales-rule#callingtime)
Scam Tech Support Phone Call (https://roseylinn.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/scam-tech-support-phone-calls/)
Scam Tech Support Phone Call Updated (https://roseylinn.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/scam-tech-support-phone-calls-2/)
FTC Complaint Assist (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1)
FTC Do Not Call List Submit a Complaint (https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx)
Canadian Anti Fraud Center (http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm)
UK Action Fraud (http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/)
UK Telephone Preference Service (http://www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html)
Microsoft Report a Technical Support Scam (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/getsupport?oaspworkflow=start_220.127.116.11&wfname=scamsurvey&ccsid=635754583937906028)
Password Computer Safety (https://roseylinn.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/password-computer-safety/)