While the majority of Internet scams happen on websites and email, some scams still live on through phone calls. One good example is the fake technician scam where someone phones up pretending to be a professional that wants to fix your PC. They’ll usually want to set up a remote connection in order to help. Don’t be fooled, however; they’re anything but a professional!
How the Scam Works
The scam itself is very simple. You receive a call from a stranger who claims that they’re from Microsoft. They’ll continue on, saying that they detected that your PC has suffered a specific issue. Perhaps they found malware on it, or your security is about to expire. Either way, they’ll push to gain access to your PC. They may ask you to visit a site to help with remote connections and give you details of how to connect.
Before you follow their demands, it’s crucial to realise that these calls aren’t genuine. The main motive of these calls is to get onto your PC where the scammer can cause an actual problem that will require fixing. The problems they discuss are totally fabricated, and your PC is likely fine. Don’t even consider allowing them to access your PC; simply hang up and leave it be.
How Do I Know If It’s a Genuine Microsoft Technician?
Identifying a Microsoft technician is easy: If they’re phoning you, they’re not a technician! Microsoft will never call you in order to warn you about a malware infection or expired key. The only times you’ll really talk to a technician is if you called Microsoft support yourself. If you haven’t called technicians recently, and you get a call from them, it’s a scammer without a doubt. You can read more about how Microsoft handles their support via their page on the topic.
What Happens If You Let the Scammer In?
If you allow the scammer to do their “job,” they’ll try to initiate a remote connection to your PC. This typically involves going to a site such as GoToAssist to set up a remote session. Once they’re in, they’ll perform a fake security check which brings up a false positive. One of the favorite tricks these scammers use involves opening the command prompt and listing the file system, claim, it’s “doing a virus scan.”
Once they have “found” a “problem,” they’ll discuss payment. They’ll ask for hundreds of dollars in order to pay for the support they never gave in the first place. Sometimes, in order to get the user to cough up, they’ll lock the system behind a password and claim it was the doing of malware, which can be “repaired” for a large fee.
What If I Actually Need Help?
If you actually need help with your computer, don’t get it from a random stranger phoning you! Try the Microsoft Support site, and initiate the help yourself. That way you can be certain that the person on the other end of the line is an actual Microsoft technician. Take control of your support and ensure it’s from a legitimate source!
If you ever receive a call from a “Microsoft Technician” when you had not specifically asked them for help in the past, do not do anything they say. They will never call you out of the blue, so you will know for sure that you’re talking to a scammer! Simply hang up, and don’t give out any details.
Have you or someone you know encountered this scam before? Let us know below.