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Microsoft Called Me About Errors – Should I Be Concerned?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 by | Filed Under: Security Help
 
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John from Oklahoma writes:

Had a person call who stated he was a Microsoft maintenance representative and it had been reported that my computer was showing a lot of error and warning activity which was causing it to run slow.  I have a PH Pavilion computer with Windows 7 bought in April 2011.  To prove this he had me type in “eventvr” in the search programs and file start box.  This brought up event viewer and under administrative events a list of errors and warnings.   He had me try and delete them(today over 9800). Of course, I couldn’t.  He stated these errors and warnings were a problem and were causing my computer to run slow.  He wanted to connect me with his technician who would walk me through getting rid of this problem.  Being leery, I thanked him and told him I would call him back after I researched this problem, if I needed his help.  He was not a happy camper.  In reviewing the errors and warnings shown, messages, such as,  Dhcp-client, print services, kernel-eventtracing, application virtualization, etc…,  I noticed that a lot of this activity was taking place late a night or early morning when my computer was supposedly turned off.  Last night for instance, over a hundred errors with the source stated as cdrom.    I do run ccleaner and Norton each night, as the last thing I do, and have Norton turn off the computer after it is finished.  My question, should I be concerned?  If so, what can I do to fix the problem and how do I keep it from happening in the future?

John, you should be leery. Microsoft does not call people at home about their individual computer issues, period. If someone calls you up out of the blue and says they are working for Microsoft and have called to fix an error, they are flat out lying. 

Errors reported by Windows are compiled and used to create future bug fixes. They are no responded to on an individual basis.  You are certainly not alone in being targeted by this scam and it has been going on for years.

Anyone who pulls up event viewer is going to see a lot of activity.  Below is an example of mine and my computer is running just fine.  Most of these events are minor and just par for the course of PC operation.

These scams end with the crooks asking you to pay several hundred dollars to fix the “errors” on your computers. The event viewer is not slowing down your computer. Unless you’ve noticed an issue with your computer, it is probably just fine. And if there is an issue slowing it down, the guy on the phone doesn’t have any solution but to empty your wallet. Running Norton and CC cleaner are great measures to take care of your computer. So is hanging up on crooks like the guy who called.

Microsoft suggests you contact local law enforcement and also the FBI’s Internet Crime Center at this link.

It doesn’t sound like you gave these guys access to your computer, but if you did, change all of your account passwords ASAP.

~ Cynthia

17 Responses to “Microsoft Called Me About Errors – Should I Be Concerned?”

  1. John F says:

    Cynthia is always the best person you have in providing clear and concise advice and she was right on with this one.
    J F

  2. Barbara B says:

    I too, had the same call several days ago. As soon as he said he was from Microsoft I knew something was fishy, however, I did ask him why he was calling. When he started to tell me about error activity, etc on my computer, I rudely told him he was full of you know what, and hung up. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so rude, but on the other hand they wanted to steal from me. Nuff said…

    • cynthia says:

      Barb, when it comes to scammers, the ruder the better. If you engage them or are polite to them, they may still consider you a good target.

  3. Valerie Campbell says:

    After seven calls from these people I blocked their number, they got around that by using another number so I told them I had given up my computer and do not have one now. They never called again. I did not believe Microsoft would have the manpower to call so many people so guess I was lucky I did not get taken in by this scam. Glad you have written about this though so others hopefully don’t get caught……….keep up the great work you do

  4. Gloria Benoit says:

    I have received this call a few times. The man who called had a foreign accent and did not speak good English. At first I said my computer was running great. Last time I told him I did not have a computer. Have not had that call in about a month now.

  5. Kevin says:

    My dad got one of these. Thankfully he asked me to work with the guy, and I soon got rid of him. Several years later, a sin last month, they tried to get me. I kept asking what these warnings were, and the jerk hung up on me. he tried again (same guy, same accent, same unknown number), so I told him “Kevin” was no longer at my number. He tried again, but a bad connection allowed for me to hang up on him. Haven’t heard back since. So, when they call and ask for you, ask who they are. if they say their from Microsoft, just say “you’re” no longer at the number, and that you just got it the other day. Probably stop it from reoccuring. Just remember, MS doesn’t get reports of errors from your computer. Your computer cnanot tell them it has viruses, or errors, or warnings. And MS doesn’t cold call you.

  6. Nancy says:

    First of all, I’m so glad this has been brought up at your website. I too, got several calls (9)with caller ID from Texas(?). Of course I wouldn’t even think about listening to this foreign person saying they were from Microsoft. I know Microsoft would never call individuals. The first time, I was awakened early Sat. morning when he said to go to my computer and do whatever he said. That’s when I said I was still in bed. I got another call 2 hours later & ignored it. That was the first 2 & have received 7 more calls, but have also ignored those since I recognized the phone #.
    I’m not sure if I should list that phone#, but the caller ID said Texas.
    I know better than to answer & hope they will stop. But, I may answer and give them a piece of my mind. Thanks so much for bringing this situation for all to read & be careful.

  7. Michael says:

    I have received the same calls. I tell them to call back when they learn English. The last time, I suggested they have sex with themselves.

  8. Kaberle says:

    Don’t forget some of these people might target your pc to zombie it. I would never tell anyone to scan with norton and everything will be okay. Norton doesn’t catch a good 1/3 of the worst viruses/malware out there. I clean off this junk for people as a side job and a huge portion of them run Norton or Avast.
    I use AVG pro and put the free on my clients pcs along with AntiMalware Bytes. After using that to clean off up to 2, 579 viruses my clients report no more malware or viruses on their pcs.
    I’ve been using AVG since 2001 and it’s the best there is. Kaspary is good too, but I love my AVG/AMB combo.
    Just a thought.. don’t answer unknown numbers either.

  9. Jeannette says:

    I too have received these calls, when I refused to do what he wanted he cursed me out and when I hung up on him , he called me back and cursed me out again. They call every few months, I just hang up

  10. lmscagain says:

    just tell them u don’t own a computer – then they hang up on u! never get bothered again

  11. MARSHA says:

    Afew days ago I got the same call.A guy with a bad accent,could barely understand him.He had me type in eventvwr also.He got mad because I have dialup and he couldnt connect to my computer.I hung up on him and he has called several times since then I just dont answer.

  12. […] mentioned the popular phone scam that tricks people into checking their event viewer and convincing them that the errors in it need some type of expensive attention.  If you are […]

  13. […] This scam is very similar to the one where crooks use Microsoft’s name. Click here to read an article on that scam. […]

  14. david yale says:

    I fell for it about 4 months ago, realized it was a scam and had to change all passwords, and notify accounts. Took me several weeks to clear up. Since then have had several calls for same scam and rudely rejected them.
    Often it is an area code 736 which is not a valid N. American code, and once it was from another in Canada. So far, always someone with a very heavy foreign accent. In another instance recently, they claimed they were from Microsoft for Windows.

  15. JJM says:

    I receive a rash of these calls every few months. 1st batch was a couple years ago. Was in the process of turning over control of my PC, felt uncomfortable and decided to disconnect internet and end call. Now if time allows, I make them waste their time by claiming the PC is off and takes 5-10 minutes to boot up OR it crashed and will take time. Now during the wait I play Jailhouse Rock loudly to them.
    Many of these scammers also fake the caller ID. For instance, reverse lookup and calls to the number sometimes go to doctor or attorney offices.

  16. Kat Smith says:

    Best thing anyone can do for themselves is up there security on their pc and get antimalware. AND change ALL your passwords often. I too was scammed by some guy in India or somewhere. Only took once to learn my lesson. Luckily I didn’t lose anything but a lot of my time clearing everything up and checking it all out.Changed every password I had. They have called me back many times only to hear very LOUD INSULTS in very bad language. They hang up. Next time I am going to “play with their heads awhile”. Should be fun. What thing you can do that is simple………..just keep saying “WHAT?” WHAT? WHAT? every time they say something. LOL

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