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Don’t become a victim, avoid ‘Microsoft scam’
Wilson County NewsJuly 2, 2014 | 2,793 views | 6 comments
Whatever you do, don’t press the Windows key and “R”; you’ll open your computer to scammers.
That’s the advice from Darlene Keister of Floresville. Though she’s usually cautious with callers offering services, she fell prey to a “Microsoft scam” and wants to warn others, so they don’t lose money, too. She ultimately paid a price for her naivete, shelling out more than $400.
Recently, Keister was having trouble with her computer. As she wrestled with the technology, she received a phone call from “Online Technical Services,” advising they were contractors for Microsoft. The caller said her computer was sending error messages, and they could show her where the errors were.
All she had to do was press the Windows button and “R.” This gave the caller remote access to her computer.
To “clean up” her system and “prevent” further issues, the caller convinced Keister to purchase a three-year “contract” for several hundred dollars. Within about six hours, they advised her system was “clean.”
Over the following weekend, however, the caller contacted Keister again, requesting further access. This time, Keister was suspicious.
She contacted her credit union to stop payment on the “contract,” but was advised she was too late; the transaction had already gone through.
Her credit union’s fraud department provided a contact number for Microsoft. Keister contacted the software giant, whose technicians detected and removed the malware installed by the scammers, which included keyboard tracking. This cost her more than $100.
“I just don’t want anyone else to fall for the same thing,” Keister said.
The Federal Trade Commission offers this advice: If you get a call from someone you don’t know who is trying to sell you something you hadn’t planned to buy, say “No thanks.” And, if they pressure you about giving up personal information -- like your credit card or Social Security number -- it’s likely a scam. Hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or visit ftc.gov/complaint.
Advice from Microsoft
Microsoft is aware the company’s name is being used for scams.
According to microsoft.com/security, “If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you:
•Do not purchase any software or services.
•Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the ‘service.’ If there is, hang up.
•Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
•Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
•Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.”
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