Cybercriminals often build well-known & trusted brands into scams in their attempts to trick computer users into giving money or divulging sensitive information.
We recently had a customer call us in relation to a telephone call from “Microsoft Tech Support”; they had identified that our customer had a virus on their PC and that they may have noticed that their computer had “slowed-down” and he was “experiencing unwanted pop-ups” when using the internet. Sure enough our customer had noticed that his PC had slowed down a bit and he was indeed experiencing many unwanted pop-ups.
It’s a pretty good numbers game for the scammers to gain the trust of the not-so-tech-savvy users, after all PCs do tend to slow down gradually over time & we all know how annoying those constant pop-ups can be whilst you are browsing the internet!
This scam has been doing the rounds for some time, however they it does still seem to be catching out many PC users. Microsoft state that they “will never send unsolicited e-mails or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer”.
Other Microsoft scams
- During activation of Microsoft Windows, a pop-up appears saying: “Microsoft requires credit card information to validate your copy of Windows”
Microsoft say: “At no time during the validation process do we request your credit card information.”
- E-mail messages claiming to be from Microsoft with attached security updates
Microsoft say: “Legitimate communications do not include software updates as attachments. We never attach software updates to our security communications. Rather, we refer customers to our website for complete information about the software update or security incident.”
- “You have won the Microsoft Lottery”
No, there isn’t a Microsoft Lottery.
If you are contacted from a company offering you a service or advice about a ‘problem’ they have been made aware of, you should take some time to research the company before providing them with any personal information or payment. For example, the Microsoft website states that; “ If you receive an unsolicited e-mail message or phone call that purports to be from Microsoft and requests that you send personal information or click links, delete the e-mail or hang up the phone.”
Some fraudsters will claim they are a limited company, if do, they should be registered with Companies House, the official government register of companies. If the offer is to buy or sell shares, they must be registered with Financial Services Authority (FSA) so it will be worth checking with these institutions.
Remember to only open emails and texts, or click on links from trusted sources. If you receive emails or text from an untrusted source, instantly delete them. To give yourself maximum protection from Malware ensure that you are regularly receiving Windows OS system updates and you have a valid anti virus software on your PC devices. If you are worried that you have opened an email like this, then run both a virus scan and check for updates in Windows updates.
If you have been a victim
You should also report similar emails to Action Fraud who provide a central point of contact for information about fraud. If you have received similar scams regarding Microsoft, you should report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would also recommend that you visit the CIFAS website. “CIFAS Protective Registration is a service that enables individuals to seek protection against possible impersonation attempts when they have good reason to believe that their details might be used by a fraudster.”
Did you know your internet browser can block most of those annoying pop-ups? Some pop-ups will contain content that may lead you to untrusted sites that could put your computer and your personal details at risk. We would advise that you have a pop up blocker enabled to prevent the chance of online fraud.
Stay safe & stay aware