Marketing

How to protect yourself from the Microsoft tech support phone scam

Despite having gone on for years – since 2009 in fact – the “I’m from Microsoft and you’ve got a problem with your PC” scam phone calls haven’t gone away. Here’s everything you need to know about protecting yourself should you receive one.

Does Microsoft tech support call you?

No. Microsoft will never make an unsolicited phone call.

But the scammers hope you don’t know this. They call you, and ask for you by name. They say they are a computer security expert from Microsoft (or another legitimate tech company or a Microsoft ‘partner’). The caller is plausible and polite, but officious. They say that your PC or laptop has been infected with malware, and that they can help you solve the problem.

What happens next depends on the particular version of scam with which you have been targeted.

Some crooks will ask you to give them remote access to your PC or laptop, and then use that access to get hold of your personal data. Others get you to download a tool which they say is the “fix” for your problem, but is actually malware.

The other version is a more straightforward scam: they simply ask for money in return for a lifetime of ‘protection’ from the malware they pretend is on your machine.

Here’s the important bit: no legitimate IT security company – certainly not Microsoft – is ever going to call you in this way. For one thing, they can’t even tell that your PC is infected. They’ve got your name from the phone book, or any one of the thousands of marketing lists on which your details probably reside. They know nothing about your home computing set up – they’re just chancers.