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Beware: Microsoft Phone Scams

A client told me just recently of a story she had the night before where she received a phone call from a relatively well spoken and polite person asked to have access to her computer as they had detected that her Microsoft office software was an illegally installed by hackers and they needed to access her PC remotely to obtain details about this illegal software and the hacker.

After hearing this story I immediately knew it was a scam and decided to draft this warning for all to see. If you allowed this person to access your PC, they can cause all types of carnage and obtain information such as credit card or online banking details. They may however try to sell you some software to clean up the infections they say that have found on your machine.

Microsoft is aware of these types of scams and so they recommend the following:

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited calls related to a security problem, even if they claim to represent a respected company.
  • Never provide personal information, such as credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited caller.
  • Do not go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.
  • Take the caller’s information down and pass it to the authorities.
  • Use up-to-date versions of Windows and application software.
  • Make sure security updates are installed regularly.
  • Use a strong password and change it regularly.
  • Make sure the firewall is turned on and that antivirus software is installed and up to date.
  • Contact your I.T department as soon as possible and have them check your machine for any signs of intrusion.
  • Scan your PC with Microsoft’s Safety Scanner to help locate and remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

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