Thursday, October 21, 2010

Microsoft telephone scam

Just had a phone call from my father. He'd just had a call from a foreign-accented person (with office noises in the background) claiming to be from Microsoft. They were worried about some corrupted files he'd downloaded to his computer. He put the phone down on them.

My mother had a similar call last month where they discussed "your computer" and she replied "which one?" to which the reply was "your computer" so she put the phone down.

Now this call came on their land-line, the computer is on a different line. So if this was a legitimate call they'd have to have the IP address of the computer; then contact the ISP; who would then pass along the contact address of my parents (the contact number the ISP have is my mobile and the computer line isn't listed) and then have to look them up in the phonebook.

Chances of Microsoft doing that level of pro-active support - zero.

If this happens to you DON'T do anything they tell you to. This is simply a cold-calling scam based on the high possibility of the household having both a Windows OS PC and an internet connection.

If you're unsure (or are genuinely expecting a call back) ask for a number to call them back on - a scammer won't give one.

This applies to ANYONE who is posing as an official. Readers may recall me mentioning a call from a financial institute asking to answer security questions to confirm MY identity. "How have I confirmed your identity?" I asked. They gave me a number to call back on and I checked it out on their website.