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Question
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phone call scams claiming to be Microsoft.

stvmarwick asked on

OT: phone call scams.

I have been called twice from an indian accented person claiming they are from windows sevice centre, he says that my computer has been hacked and they want my details to "fix the issues".  i asked the man where he was calling from, he replied he was using the phone internet, calling from the  Sydney windows service centre. i again asked him for his phone number and email address, he said he would give the details to me after he "fixed the problems on my computer". he started to get a little forceful so i again asked him for his details, this time with a little anger. he promptly hung up. 2 hours later the same damn phone call asking the same questions. be very careful about giving out this information. Who do i report these activitys to?

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Hi stvmarwick,

 

It is a SCAM!!! Microsoft does not do that nor do they have partners who do that nor do they hire sub-contractors or people or even get volunteers to do that. There are probably thousands of such companies out there doing this every day - we get two or three messages like this (or more) every day asking about it. You are the lucky ones who recognized the scam enough not to be sucked into it and end up with identify theft, infections, hacking of your computer, convincing you to buy software or services you either don't need or that don't really exist at all, and all sorts of nefarious tricks. You'd be surprised by how many contact us AFTER they realized they'd been suckered asking what to do. Do not waste time talking to these people, do not give them any personal information whatsoever, do not be tricked by what they may get you to see on the computer - in fact, don't do anything they suggest on your computer or even visit websites they recommend, and for heaven's sake don't give them access to your computer.

 

Microsoft knows this goes on but with these companies springing up like dandelions, or closing and changing names when discovered, and mostly operating in foreign countries, it would take an army of lawyers to pursue every one of them. They do the best they can, but there simply are too many and more get added every day. People have to be careful of these things. They not only occur by phone, but also by e-mail, instant messaging, regular mail and every way imaginable. Just remember that Microsoft does not do this and hang up or delete emails or messages or mail from anyone claiming they are doing this because they know information about your computer or want information from you to confirm your account so it won't be closed and ask you for your username and password and all sorts of other personal information. Microsoft DOES NOT DO THIS!

 

See the following for additional information about this and what to do and how Microsoft operates:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/msname.aspx

 

http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/phishing-scams.aspx

 

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/securitytipstalk/archive/2010/03/09/don-t-fall-for-phony-phone-tech-support.aspx

 

I hope you didn't get caught by these scammers and saved yourself a big headache. Continue to use the same caution and you should do fine.

 

If you got caught by these scammers (did any of the things they suggested and especially if you gave them access), I would also proceed as follows:

 

It was not a good idea to give them access to your computer or any personal information, but if they had access to your computer or you visited a website they suggested or downloaded anything intentionally or unintentionally from a website or email, they could have infected you or made changes (or installed a way to gain access at their convenience in a background download occurring while they were showing you things and installing who knows what). Plus if they installed fee-based products (as is often the case since they negotiate deals with such vendors to split the profits on such “sales” – in effect, a kickback), they may have removed other products and when the service is cancelled what they installed may also be cancelled. In some cases, this may be good. In others, it may leave you without security protection depending on what they did. So you need to make sure that you eventually have proper firewall and real-time AV protection installed (and remove any they installed unless you did a clean install or System Restore as will be suggested shortly – then just confirm things are back to normal and the security is enabled or re-installed).

 

See this article: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/securitytipstalk/archive/2010/03/09/don-t-fall-for-phony-phone-tech-support.aspx?PageIndex=10. The article also includes links for things to do if you think you've been a victim of this type of scam and information about what Microsoft does and doesn't do so you won't be tricked again.

 

Still, it doesn't hurt to be cautious. I believe the safest thing to do at this point is to backup your data and do a clean install or a restore to factory conditions (however you are setup to start from scratch after doing a full format of the hard drive). If you aren’t prepared for such a radical solution (even if it is the safest), please at least proceed as follows:

 

Do a System Restore to before the call and giving them access. That will hopefully remove anything they may have installed and undo any changes they might have made. Also change your password and security questions with your email provider, network, ISP and perhaps others listed below (which a System Restore won’t do – they’ll still be the same until you revise them). There’s no telling what they could have done while they had access to your computer.

 

Then to make sure you weren't infected, please do the following;

 

First, try the following programs if you haven't as they may help. I recommend you download, install, update, and run full scans with Malwarebytes:http://www.malwarebytes.org/ and SuperAntiSpyware:http://superantispyware.com/ and then run a full ESET online scan: http://www.eset.com/us/online-scanner.

 

Are you running Microsoft Security Essentials?

 

If so:

 

Start here - https://support.microsoftsecurityessentials.com/and select the link that says - I think my computer is infected. Options will vary by region, but phone support leads you to Microsoft Answer Desk (http://www.answerdesk.com/) in the US at this time. After an initial free consultation, a fee will be charged for assistance, based on the details of the case.

 

If not:

 

You can start here: https://consumersecuritysupport.microsoft.com/ (which will also lead to the paid support options if you are in the US)

 

In other regions not served by the link above, go here: http://Support.microsoft.com/securityand go to the “assisted support” or contact us menu.

 

If the above is too expensive and you'd like some free options (though they can take days or a week or so before getting a response and then more days going back and forth in a forum environment - and though the quality of help you get is generally good, the level of expertise of the person assigned to your case is pretty much the luck of the draw - but that's the "price" of free options), here are some free malware-removal forums:

 

http://discussions.virtualdr.com/forumdisplay.php?f=71

 

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/cleanup

 

http://www.daniweb.com/hardware-and-software/microsoft-windows/viruses-spyware-and-other-nasties/64

 

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/forum79.html

 

http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/forum/118-security/

 

P.S. In the meantime, I'd contact the bank or credit card company and dispute the charge to try and get my money back (if you actually paid anything - otherwise skip ahead to the P.P.S). Canceling the card is not enough to remove prior transactions that were charged to it without disputing them – and there may be more than just this one company if they installed products that cost money that will separately charge you (or already have). That may be simpler than asking the company or companies for a refund - but if the banks can't help you at this point, then of course try to get the refund from the company or companies (and keep asking to talk to the person's manager until you get as high as you can) and tell them if they refuse you'll notify the authorities and the company that hosts their website and take legal action (even if we know you won't because it's too much of a hassle, they won't be certain).

 

How far you want to go in terms of changing all your other passwords, pins, logon information, account information (including all your financial data if on the computer) and such is a decision you need to make for yourself. They are not all related to resolving the computer issues and your best bet outside of anything computer-related is to contact those companies or the local authorities and see what they advise (or seek out an attorney for advice).

 

P.P.S. If you wish to report it and live in the United States, here are some links you can try:

 

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Internet_Fraud.shtml


http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx This one is the "big gun" and while the best (like getting the BAU to take your case at the FBI), they really only focus on the major cases. I imagine enough complaints from enough people (or the right person or perhaps someone actually victimized or the company being misrepresented) about a particular company would make it a major case, but frankly don't know how they work or prioritize what they do. Still, since if they do get involved they can probably do the most to resolve the matter, I'd include them if I were harmed.


http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/reporting.php


http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internet_fraud


http://www.fraud.org/info/repoform.htm


http://www.reportinginternetfraud.com/

 

Good luck and best wishes!

 

Kosh

 

The following additional information is compliments of PA Bear:

 

I received a Phone Call From Someone claiming I have a Virus
http://answers.microsoft.com/thread/4489f388-d6de-416d-9158-0079764bb001

 

Avoid Phone Scams & Other Cybercriminal Tech Support Scams
http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx

 

Microsoft dumps [India-based Comantra 'Certified Gold'] partner over telephone scam claims (21 Sept-11)
http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/09/21/microsoft-dumps-partner-telephone-support-scam/

 

More => http://securitygarden.blogspot.com/2011/09/microsoft-removes-gold-certified.html

 

Dealing with Fake Tech Support & Phone Scams (16 Jun-11)
http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/windowssecurity/archive/2011/06/16/dealing-with-fake-tech-support-amp-phone-scams.aspx

 

Microsoft Survey Reveals Extent of Emerging Internet Phone Scam (16 Jun-11)
http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press/2011/jun11/06-16MSPhoneScamPR.mspx

 

ISC Diary | Microsoft Support Scam (again) (23 May-11)
http://isc.sans.edu/diary.html?storyid=10912

 

Watch out for ‘Microsoft Tech Support’ scams (03 Feb-11)
http://windowssecrets.com/top-story/watch-out-for-microsoft-tech-support-scams/

 

ISC Diary | Older AV Scam Active again (23 Dec-10)
http://isc.sans.edu/diary.html?storyid=10135

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