Almost all consumers are aware of the threat posed by cybercriminal scams that arrive by way of email. Companies have felt the cybercriminals wrath significantly less, but should be on high alert because cybercriminals targeting companies is on the upswing. When you see emails in your inbox announcing that you have received a monetary windfall or someone needs to verify your bank access codes, you delete the email knowing that it is a scam. What if you received a phone call at your home or office from Microsoft’s tech support department informing you there is a virus on your computer. Would you think the call was scam?
The most popular scam this year is just that, bogus phone calls from cybercriminals posing as a representative from Microsoft’s tech support department. The Federal Trade Commission is aware of the scam, and is heavily involved in trying to disband these operations. They have pending charges against five individuals involved in the tech support phone scam, and have already settled with two operators one of which was ordered to repay $948,721 to victims.
Whether you are at home or at the office, you should be alert for this tech support phone scam and keeping the following top of mind:
• Microsoft’s Tech Support Department does not make unsolicited phone calls regarding viruses, software upgrades, or computer security.
• Be suspicious if the caller suggests they received a virus report from your internet service provider. They can even spoof the Caller ID to appear as if they are calling from Microsoft – Don’t Be Fooled!
• Do not allow the caller remote access to your computer, allowing them to make setting changes that will leave your computer vulnerable especially to malware installations. Malware can give them access to personal information, sensitive business data, passwords, user names, and pin numbers.
• Don’t be pressured or confused by complex or technical information that encourages you to sign up for any computer security or computer services over the phone, provide a credit card or go to a website the caller has directed you to and enter a credit card number.
Use the suggestions outlined below to avoid being a target of one of these technical support phone scams:
• Add your phone number to the Do No Call Registry.
• Alert Microsoft if you receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft’s tech support department.
• If you think your computer has a virus or other issues, contact a reputable IT support service company (like Geek’s On Call).