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Did Microsoft Call Me At Home?

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 by | Filed Under: Security Help
 
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Carolyn writes:

I just received a call from Microsoft located in Las Vegas, the man had a very broken accent, telling me that I have a Microsoft Computer problem and I should be sitting at my computer for further instructions. I told him I have a Dell computer with Windows 7, but he insisted I had a Microsoft computer and was calling to fix a Microsoft problem. Are you aware of Microsoft actually contacting customers to fix a problem with Microsoft? He was very persistent and called back again after I told him I would not participate. This is probably the third call I have received. I would be very interested to know the circumstances of this call.

 Carolyn, you are smart to be suspicious. To quote a very wise person, Judge Judy in fact : “If something doesn’t make sense, then it’s not true.”  Nothing about this call makes sense. How would Microsoft even have your phone number? And how would they know if there was an issue with your computer?  Issues with Windows are fixed using update available in the Windows update center, not by calling people up on the phone.

You’d have a hard enough time getting in touch with someone at Microsoft if you called them for help, so they aren’t calling up people at home out of the blue to fix issues on their computer. Your caller is not one of the cheerful coffee-drinking Microsoft employees the company displays in the careers section of their website, but a scammer. (most likely calling from overseas.)

Carolyn, you should report these calls to the police. This persistent scammer is targeting you.

Microsoft warns about a scam just like this on their website.

They scammers claim to be Microsoft and offer to solve computer problems. Sometimes they try to sell you a software license. They might also trick you into installing malicious software that steals your date or passwords, take control of your computer remotely, ask for your credit card information or direct you to fraudulent websites.

Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls and neither do any of their offiical partners.

Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:

  • Windows Helpdesk

  • Windows Service Center

  • Microsoft Tech Support

  • Microsoft Support

  • Windows Technical Department Support Group

  • Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)

Other common scams using the Microsoft name involve asking for credit card information to validate your copy of Windows, unsolicited e-mails from Microsoft with attached security updates and notices that you have won the Microsoft Lottery.

When you get a call like this, don’t purchase any software or services. Never give control of your computer to a third-party unless you are sure it is a representative of a company that you have hired for customer support.  Never give out your credit card information.

You can call your local police to report these calls and you can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by clicking here.

If by chance, someone does give out too much information to a caller like that, he or she should immediately change their computer’s password, scan for malware and contact their financial institution.

The only exception to the no calls from Microsoft rule is that rarely they will work with Internet service providers to fix a large-scale issue. In that case the call would come from your ISP and it would be easy to verify that you are a customer.

 I’d suggest calling the police, notifying the FTC or perhaps blowing a whistle into the phone next time these people call.

~ Cynthia

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11 Responses to “Did Microsoft Call Me At Home?”

  1. Patricia Milby says:

    I fell for that and they downloaded everything on my computer, that was a year ago but to this day, I do not go into my bank account or do anything on the computer but to send e-mails to my friends. I still worry about it and wish there was a way to know if they still have access to my computer.

  2. Alice Carpenter says:

    I had this happen to me 4 or 5 times last month. They wanted me to go to my computer, turn it on, press the Microsoft symbol key and at the same time a letter (I am not sure now, but I think it was the R key). I didn’t do it, and later asked questions of someone who knows computers and they advised me that those keys would have given them remote control of my computer.
    Wish I had known to call the police. Now, I can’t remember the exact dates.

  3. Merna says:

    I have received calls like this every now and then for the past three years or so. The first time that it happened I was wary. The caller was a woman, and the conversation went like this:

    She said, “You have a virus on your computer.”
    I said, “How do you know?”
    She said (again), “You have a virus on your computer.”
    I said (again), “How do you know?”
    She said (for a third time), “You have a virus on your computer.”
    I said, “How do you know? How do you know whether I even have a computer? How do you know whether I live in a house or a tent? How do you know whether I drive a car or a truck?”
    She hung up.

    After that first experience I did some research online, and this confirmed that my wariness was justified. I also read what some other people had done, and in my subsequent experiences I used some methods of handling the calls that others had used and some new ones that I developed myself. What I do depends on how much time I have and my mood at the time — (a), (b), and (c) are the ones I use most often, in that order. I have only used (d) and (e) once.

    (a) I play along, taking as much time as possible for everything — the caller is wasting my time; I waste as much of his as I can. When he reaches the point where he tells me to use the Windows key and describes it and tells me where it’s found, I tell him that that key on my computer has a picture of an apple. At this point the caller usually tells me that they only support Windows computers, not Apple, and hangs up. (Sometimes they just hang up.)

    (b) I say that I used to have a computer but don’t any more. Or that the person in the house who owned the computer has moved out and taken it with him.

    (c) I say “Hello” when I answer the phone; but as soon as I hear the opening sentence about being from Microsoft or some other PC repair company, I talk over the caller as though my “Hello” was the start of a recorded message that I continue like this, “We’re not home now; but if you leave your name and number, we’ll get back to you.” Then I press the timer button on my microwave which is very close to the phone.

    (d) Once there was a TV program I wanted to watch that was just about due to start. I told the caller I would turn the computer on, and then I went and watched my program (leaving the phone off the hook and the caller waiting for me to return). Half an hour later when my program was over I went back to the phone. The caller had of course hung up. Unbelievably, the next afternoon she rang again and said something about our being cut off. I said in a delighted tone, “Oh, yes, thank you — it’s working all right now!” Then I hung up.

    (e) Another time I said to the caller (many of whom have Indian voices), “May Karma do to your family what you are trying to do to others” and hung up.

    In all cases I have NOT done anything the caller asked me to do.

  4. Nicole says:

    It happened to me also. The first time, I fell for it as I had a problem that I had tried to fix by contacting Microsoft and it hadn’t been resolved. So I assumed it was a follow up call. Fortunately, whoever had called wasn’t able to access my computer and nothing was compromised. Phew! They have called back on numerous occasions, I have hung up, told them not to call anymore, told them I know what they are tring to do…they just don’t give up. Same Indian voice, most times male but once a woman.

  5. Chris says:

    I got a call from someone saying “do you know you could have a virus on your computer? I will show you. Can you go to your computer?” I hung up on him :)

  6. kathy says:

    Thanks for this info, I wondered where to report scams – had one from Nigeria this week.

  7. Annabelle 1518 says:

    Yesterday, a phone call came in and the Caller ID showed the number as follows: 000-000-0000. Now that in itself is suspicious to me. So – this guy with an East Indian accent tells me that he needs access to my computer so he can fix a problem that has invaded my computer. Of course, one should NEVER allow anyone to access your computer unless it is someone you already know and trust and can fix computers. Suddenly, a huge red flag came up not to mention that my instincts told me this guy was a scammer. I just told this person that I had no computer so how could I have a problem. He just laughed and hung up. There you go. NEVER let anyone access your computer because then they can steal everything you have in it.

  8. Shirley Brannon says:

    I have gotten a ton of these calls over the past several months. I told them a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t want my computer scanned & I was going to check with our State Attorney General Cyber Crimes Unit on this matter. I didn’t do it, but he said o.k. & hung up. Then I filed a complaint with the FCC. I went to Walmart that day & bought for under $18.00 a Boat Fog Horn, found my hubby’s ear protective head gear & have them both sitting on my dinning table waiting & hoping they’ll call back. We checked the horn out & it is very, very loud!!!!

  9. Gloria says:

    I have had that call many times and last time told the man with the thick accent that I did not have a computer and to stop calling. Then I was getting email from Microsoft and wondered how they would get my address. Never opened them Kept blocking and bouncing the email. Have not heard from either for a few weeks. I am always suspicious getting calls or emails like that.

  10. Dennis says:

    I have received these calls three times. Each time the caller had a very heavy accent that was hard to understand. The first time he sounded like he said he had a problem with his computer and i replied that I was sorry he had a problem and hung up. The second time i told them not to call this number again. The last time I told him I did not have a computer and hung up.

  11. Kevin Stern says:

    These buggers will up the ante if you refuse. They lie. Never forget that. One such jerk threatened to crash my computer when I told him I wasn’t even near it (So I lied. He lied first.) Remember, they can’t touch your computer unless you give them access. I scared him off when I pointed out he was now threatening me. Never believe them or their threats.

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