The Better Business Bureau reportsnew activity for a phone scam that’s making the rounds in which the callerclaims to be from Microsoft, a trusted household name. The caller offers tosolve a computer problem or sell a software license, all in an effort to gainremote control access to the consumer’s computer.
Consumers in Upstate New York have contacted the BBB to report receiving aphone call from a “Microsoft employee” who told them they ‘detected’ a virus ontheir computer. “The man identified himself as being from Microsoft techsupport and said he found that my computer had a virus,” a Buffalo consumer told BBB. “He directed me togo to my computer and proceeded to give me directions to ‘get rid of the virus.”When the consumer asked questions about where they were calling from, thescammer hung up.
“Consumers should always ask questions,” said David Polino, Better BusinessBureau President. “If the call is legitimate, you should be offered informationto call the person back. Often just asking simple questions will prompt the endof the call if you haven’t already hung up on your own.”
Consumers are advised the directions being given in this scam arethe same steps needed when legitimate computer service call is made to give full,remote access to the computer. Giving access to your computer without fullknowledge of who you’re dealing with can open up a host of identity theftissues, and expose personal financial information as well.
Cybercriminals work to gain a victim’s trust and once they have it they can doone or more of the following:
· Trick people into installing malicioussoftware on their computer.
· Take control of a victim’s computerremotely and adjust settings in order to leave the computer vulnerable.
· Request credit card information so thatcybercriminals can bill for the phony services.
According to Microsoft, consumers are reminded they will not make unsolicited phonecalls to help you with your computer. Install virus detection. To help protect your computer from virusesmake sure you have virus detection software installed on your computer. Thissoftware can also help identify if a virus appears on your computer.
Some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:
Windows Service Center
Microsoft Tech Support
Windows Technical Department Support Group
Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)
BBB advises consumers follow these tipsto protect themselves from scammers attempting to access their computer:
Go through your service providerdirectly. If you are concerned your computer may be exposed to viruses orother security threats, contact your service provider directly. Some providersoffer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.
Don’t trust odd calls. Never giveout personal information, over the phone, to someone you don’t know. Regardlessof the claims made by a caller, if you didn’t make the call yourself and trustthe person on the other end of the phone – don’t share your personalinformation!