Scammers are using several well-known brands, including Microsoft, to fool people into believing that something is wrong with their computers.
The scam typically unfolds in the following manner:
- A cold caller, claiming to be a representative of Microsoft, one of its brands or a third party contracted by Microsoft, tells the victim they are checking into a computer problem, infection or virus that has been detected by Microsoft.
- They tell the victim they can help and direct them to a website that then allows the scammers to take remote control of the computer.
- The cold caller will then spend some time on the computer trying to demonstrate where the ‘problems’ are and in the process convinces the victim to pay a fee for a service that will fix the computer.
"In reality, there is nothing wrong with their computer but the scammer has tricked the consumer into believing there is a problem and that paying the fee is the best way to get it fixed. Often they will also push the customer to buy a one year computer maintenance subscription. They are just trying to scam innocent Australians out of money," said Stuart Strathdee, Microsoft Australia’s chief security advisor.
Strathdee also said that the callers presented themselves in a professional manner and sounded genuine.
"Don’t be fooled, Microsoft is not cold calling consumers in regards to malfunctioning PCs, viruses or any other matter," he said.
"We strongly advise Australians to simply hang up if they receive a call of this nature and not to respond to any communications from these scammers.
"If you’re not sure, contact Microsoft on 13 20 58 or the Police," he said.
For more information, Microsoft recommends the following resources: