Is that call from Microsoft a scam?

Technical Level : Basic

Summary

This article is a copy of a blog post made by Microsoft on the Security Tips & Talk blog.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/securitytipstalk/archive/2014/06/26/is-that-call-from-microsoft-a-scam.aspx


Details

Is that call from Microsoft a scam?

A reader writes:

I received a call from someone who claimed that my computer had been identified by Microsoft as vulnerable. I thought it sounded fake, and I told them that I had no way to know if they were who they said they were. Then they said they could prove that they were from Microsoft by giving me my serial number if I would go to a website called www.ammyy.com.

Is this legitimate?

No. This is not a legitimate call from Microsoft. This is a scam.
Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) about your computer security or software fixes.

If you receive a call like this one, it’s a scam, and all you need to do is hang up.

Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories, so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you're using. It’s still a scam.

Don’t let scammers encourage you to install dangerous software

Once cybercriminals gain your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a legitimate website (such as www.ammyy.com) to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information are vulnerable.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

Although law enforcement can trace phone numbers, perpetrators often use pay phones, disposable cellular phones, or stolen cellular phone numbers. It's better to avoid being conned rather than try to repair the damage afterwards.

For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.

I think I might have already fallen for this scam

If you think you might be a victim of fraud, you can report it. For more information, see What to do if you think you have been a victim of a scam.

Author:

Eve Blakemore

Additional Information:

HOW TO: Report the Microsoft phone scam

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Hi... I never got the call from 'Microsoft',

BUT I do get calls from somebody in India, with a blocked number who proceeds to tell me: 'My computer is sending out error messages all over the internet.'

I get the call all the time.. some times I just tell them I don't have a computer... they hang up..

Some times I 'play' with them... the guy was telling me how to link my computer to his computer so he  could get my problem fixed...

I believe these people are linked to the big software computer in India, InfoSystems(?)  InfoSy? Whatever..

Anyway, I could hear a lot of people talking in the background, all making calls, telling people the same thing...

So you can play with them, or you tell them you have NO computer...

Thanks for reading...

Donny Zee (Milwaukee WI..)

    I got the call a couple of days after my computer crashed.

I really thought I had scored the deal of the century. All the signs of a scam were there, but I wasn't paying attention to them. The most revealing sign was when it came time for payment. It was on a Saturday and my bank was  closed. This

guy said everything and anything to get paid that day. He even went as far as to try my Walmart card!

     I ignored the signs for a couple of reasons, I really wanted my computer to be as good as it once was, and I didn't educate myself or research anything on security issues. My hard lesson? Today I shop for a new computer!

You can take candy away from a kid but...you can't take the kid out of candy. Coined by Greg B.
Just an update... when I tell them I have no computer, they do hang up immediately...

I can't find a way to begin a thread or ask a question - despite clicking 'Ask a question'. I also can't find a forum category on scam e-mail problems - so I am putting this here as the nearest thing. I received an e-mail on 31st March, which I copy below:

"

I RECEIVED THE E_MAIL MESSAGE BELOW. WAS IT FROM MICROSOFT? I am concerned it may be a scam:


"Email Deactivation

 
Outlook Team  (*** Email address is removed for privacy ***) 
 
 Add to contacts 
 
3/30/15 
     
 
 
 To: Outlook Team  


*** Email address is removed for privacy ***

From:  Outlook Team (*** Email address is removed for privacy ***)  Your junk email filter is set to exclusive.   
Sent: Mon 3/30/15 6:47 PM
To:  Outlook Team (*** Email address is removed for privacy ***)  

 

Outlook.com

Your mailbox has exceeded the storage limit which is 1 GB, it is defined by the administrator, you are running at 99.8 gigabytes,
 You can not send or receive new messages until you re-validate your mailbox.

To renew the mailbox kindly CONFIRM

Thank you!
Web mail system administrator! "

I filled in a 'contact us' form to Microsoft. But it had no space to tell them what the problem is! It just had a list of questions like: "What is the name of the company that contacted you? What is their phone number?" Etc. Which are obviously no use. Why don't Microsoft give me a way to help them and other users by reporting this e-mail. I suspect it to be a scam.

"

Microsoft has removed the e-mail address from my post. The whole point was that the e-mail had an address that purported to come from "The Outlook Team" at Microsoft.

The forum software removes email addresses from posts.

The message, in case you were unsure, is absolutely a scam.

See this article:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/outlook/abuse-phishing-junk-email

You can forward the email as received to abuse @ outlook . com (per the article), but the reality is that the sender will have packed up and moved on after scamming a block of recipients in a fairly short time in most cases.

As for asking a question, see this FAQ entry on how to ask a new question:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/page/faq#faqAskQuestion1

-steve

^_^
Windows Insider MVP (Security)

Thanks for your answer. I've reported it as a 'pishing scam'. Unfortunately it's pretty convincing and some people will be taken in by it.

Thanks again for answering all my points.

Lol... I play with them sometimes too, I listen to their sales pitch, all the whle saying "Oh no, oh my goodness, etc"... then at the end tell them "Does it matter that my computer is a Mac?" (It's not) They usually just hang up but one guy cursed me out because I was wasting HIS time.  You can't fix stupid.

Regards

Pink

*M$ SVAU*

Saepe fallitur, sed nunquam bis
Thank you very much!  When the guy called back, I told him it was a scam and to not call me again.

Facebook notified me that someone in Los Angeles CA logged into my account. today i got a message from Microsoft to call their support number as my computer was infected with spyware. i downloaded the malicious spyware tool and scan my computer and it was clean. i changed my Facebook password anyway.

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Last updated August 7, 2020 Views 11,976 Applies to: