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Agriculture Today

Tips to alert public of fraudulent callers claiming to be from Microsoft

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Better Business Bureau
March 21, 2012 | 4,446 views | Post a comment

AUSTIN -- Better Business Bureau is alerting consumers of a phone scam in which the caller claims to be from Microsoft. The caller offers to solve a consumer’s computer problems or sell him or her a software license, all in an effort to gain remote control access to the consumer’s computer.

Pam Webster called BBB to report she received a phone call from a “Microsoft employee” who told her he had recognized a virus on her computer. From almost the instant the conversation started, Webster realized this call was not made with good intentions.

“The man identified himself as being from Microsoft tech support and said he had identified that my computer had a virus,” said Webster. “He directed me to go to my computer and proceeded to give me directions to ‘get rid of the virus.’”

Webster, who works with computers on a daily basis, realized almost immediately that the directions being given were the same steps she follows when her IT department needs full, remote access to her computer. Webster did not allow the caller to proceed any further.

According to Microsoft, once these scammers have access to the computer, they can install malicious software, steal personal information, take control of the computer remotely, or direct consumers to fraudulent websites where they are asked to enter their credit card information.

Microsoft’s Online Safety and Security Centre states that neither Microsoft nor its partners make unsolicited phone calls.

Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:

•Windows Helpdesk

•Windows Service Center

•Microsoft Tech Support

•Microsoft Support

•Windows Technical Department Support Group

•Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)

BBB advises consumers to follow these tips to protect themselves from scammers attempting to access their computer:

•Go through your service provider directly. If you are concerned your computer may be exposed to viruses or other security threats, contact your service provider directly. Some providers offer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.

•Install virus detection. To help protect your computer from viruses, make sure you have virus detection software installed on your computer. This software can also help identify if a virus appears on your computer.

•Don’t trust cold calls. Never give out personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know. If the caller claims there is a security threat to your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly.

•Find a computer repair company you can trust. Go to BBB Member Pages to find a BBB Accredited Business you can trust.

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.

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