On a typical workday, you get a call from someone at Microsoft asking for access to your computer. How do you know if it’s a legitimate call from Microsoft or a scammer trying to steal your information or worse?
Here’s a simple way to avoid being scammed.
It’s a Scammer Calling
Scammers like to use fear to trick you into making a mistake. The majority of the issues they make up are not possible, and they are counting on you not knowing that.
Here’s a typical scam scenario:
You get a call out of the blue from someone telling you that your Microsoft license key is expiring and you’re about to lose access to your documents unless you allow them to access your computer immediately.
The scammers on the other end of the phone are hoping to scare you into taking action immediately. They will tell you that they can help save you from losing your files if you give them access to your system. To do this, you must go to the web address they provide to download and install a program that allows them to fix the issue remotely.
They are counting on you forgetting that your Microsoft license key doesn’t expire.
It’s Microsoft Calling
A legitimate call from Microsoft starts with you. Microsoft will only call you if:
- You called Microsoft Support to get help resolving an issue, and they need to call you back
- You scheduled a Support call online to resolve an issue
What are they after?
Like most scams, the goal is money. The way the scammer gets your money can vary.
- They can profit by installing malware on your system that steals your information, like credit card numbers, Social Security Number, etc. so they can sell it on the dark web.
- They might offer to fix a nonexistent problem that they have “discovered” on your system, and charge an outrageous fee for their services, either as a one-time payment or a subscription.
Another tip-off that this is a scam: they ask you to pay in bitcoins or gift cards. Microsoft won’t accept these and will always ask for a legitimate form of currency as payment.
What to do if you fall for the scam
We’re all multitasking too much, which distracts us. Scammers count on that. So, if you suddenly realize you’ve fallen for a scam, here are some steps you can take to help protect yourself.
- Immediately uninstall all programs they asked you install. These can be found if you open the Control Panel and click on “Uninstall Programs.” If you are not sure of the name of the program(s), look for applications installed on the date you gave them access.
- Run a full computer system scan with your antivirus software.
- Apply all security updates immediately. You can find and run these by typing in “Check for updates” in the Search box on the Taskbar.
- Call your credit card provider to contest the charges made by the scammers.
- Cancel your credit card. The attackers now have that information.
- Consider resetting your system back to before the scammers had access. An extreme measure that you can take is to reset your system using “System Restore.”
What else can you do?
If you were duped by scammers (and believe us, it happens to busy, smart people all the time), it’s a good idea to contact an IT professional to be sure you’ve eliminated all malware on your system.
Give Sawyer Solutions a call. Our expertise in IT services helps nonprofits and small to medium-sized businesses like yours every day.
Call 844 – 448 – 7767 or Send us a message today!