I have just got yet another call from an Indian call centre, pretending to be Microsoft. I am so irritated that I felt the need write a warning blog, hopefully it may help to stop them finding another victim.

The Microsoft phone scam is not new, it has been doing the rounds for a several years to my knowledge, this is the umpteenth time they have tried to con me with their implausible lies, sadly it shows no sign of slowing down.  The sad truth being they have probably scammed thousands of people from their hard earned cash with this simple and highly effective scam. From the chatter I could hear behind my scammer, the call centre is large and very busy.

The first you will know is you will answer the phone to a cold caller with an Indian accent (typically) , they state that they are from Microsoft and they say they have called you as your computer has a problem. Sometimes they say the your internet service provider has referred them to you, sometimes it is they have traced a virus to your computer and sometimes they just say have you noticed a problem with your computer.

Now lies like cold calls are as we all know infinite  so I think it best just to say, if you are called up out of the blue by someone claiming to be from Microsoft to assist you in any way with you computer, personally I would tell them to take a running jump ( actually what I tell them is a lot more unpleasant than this, but surely that’s OK? they are trying to rob me!).

They could and probably do come up with hundreds of variations on the lie they tell, but all are to try and get you to open a webpage and download their malware. Malware for those who are unfamiliar with the term is basically bad software, software that will harm your computer and ultimately your pocket.  With this malware installed on your computer they will have access to your details, they will be able to track your websites, and what you type in as passwords, they can see it all. They sometimes even try and get you to pay them for the privilege of being robbed and charge you, sometimes  hundreds of pounds for the “fixes”.

There are several versions of the scam circulating, it seems they take details from UK phone books so anyone is a potential victim. They prey on peoples lack of knowledge and confidence in their computer.

They said to me, ( on the first approach) in a convincingly confident tone, “you have been having problems with your computer ” I said ” No, …  no problems” ,  they answered “I can see your  computer has  been sending in error reports”, me again, ” No it’s fine”, then he said “are you online now? , just go onto this webpage …” and that is as far as he got, I told him in no uncertain terms I would not, and where I thought it best he put his phone. But I shame to say, spend virtually all my time working with my computer, I know it like the back of my hand and also I spend enough time online to know just how full the world is of amoral scum-bags who want to rob your last penny.

I fear many who have only a passing knowledge of their computer and are inherently trusting will obey the confident voice telling them to go to the website, so please be aware and let your friends know too. If we stop responding to this scam, I am to much of a realist to think that they will do something honest or constructive instead,  but it may take them a while to set up another way to steal from their innocent victims.

For more information on this scam you can view the Guardian Website report or Microsoft themselves.

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