Byte Me Article 82 – Fishing Calls – News Article

– Fishing Calls

28 July, 2012

Microsoft will NEVER ring you – EVER.  This is the point we need to get across in this article.  Lately we have been getting an unusually high number of calls from our customers and from many other Central Queenslanders reporting that they were just called by ‘Microsoft’ about their computer.  In one case the caller was allowed to gain access to the computer and also given credit card details for a transaction of over $400 – for supposedly 60 support sessions.  So what is happening here?

With the proliferation of computers into most households a caller that is simply calling random phone numbers is likely to find a computer owning person answering the phone.  They then launch into a well prepared spiel along the lines of – “I am calling from Microsoft Support Services” (or any trumped up company name with Microsoft in it) “and we can see via the Internet, that your computer has problems or viruses and we need to get access to it to fix it”.  They will then get you to go to a web site and type in an access code to enable them to gain remote access.

When granted access by the worried computer owner they can then ‘drive’ the PC as though they were sitting in front of it.  You will then see the mouse moving around the screen opening many windows and getting into areas of the PC that you are most likely not familiar with yourself.  They may even show you a log of critical errors and then go about fixing these.  They will also normally at this point as for credit card details as “these errors need urgent attention”.

Whether they do or don’t actually fix anything is dubious, however the entire call is based on a lie right from the start!  Microsoft will NEVER ring you.  Unfortunately one of the keys to the success of this scam is the fact that such a large percentage of computer users are normally having problems with their PC and they are only too ready to believe that this will be a fix.  It is really coming back to the ultimate IT problem of hacking – only in this case the owner is granting access to the PC.  We have even heard stories of them calling a household without a computer whereby they just hang up and call the next number.

These scammers are particularly targeting Central Queensland households at present as we have received more than 10 calls on this topic just this week.

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is still contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

We have developed a brilliant self-help troubleshooting section on our website – so if you are having computer problems, but can still browse the web, please check it out.  Click here to go to Kerr Solutions IT Troubleshooting

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