Microsoft is warning about a new Internet phone scam tricks you into thinking you are at risk for a computer security thread. This scam could cost you $875 in stolen money and as much as $4,800 in computer repair bills to undo the damage.
Here is how the scam works. A scammer calls your house and asks for you by name, pretending to be a computer security pro from a legitimate company. The scammer expert claims that you are at risk for a computer security threat and offers to help you solve the problem. The scammer has you perform a variety of tasks to help fight the bogus threat and even tricks you into giving them remove access to your computer. The scammer also tricks you into downloading malware and even asks you for your credit card information.
According to Microsoft, 7,000 computer users in the US, Canada, Ireland, and UK were surveyed and 15% of the respondents had received a call from these scammers. Only 3% of these survey takers had fallen for the scam and paid a hefty price. Money was taken from the users' bank and credit card accounts and resulted in as much as $1,560 being taken in Canada. On average, the scammed users ended up paying $4,800 to repair the compromised computers.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to want to help you fix your computer, Microsoft offers the following advice:
1) Be wary of unsolicited calls related to a security problem, even if they claim to represent a respected company.
2) Never provide personal information, such as credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited caller.
3) Do not go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.
4) Take the caller's information down and report it to the police.
5) Ensure you have the latest security updates for Windows and all programs running on your PC.
6) Always use a strong, unique password and change it regularly
7) Keep your firewall turned on and run an up-to-date antivirus program.
Apparently, this scam is targeting English speaking users. Microsoft expects this scam to reach global heights once these scammers learn how to speak other languages.