An ongoing scam has been identified wherein an error message claiming to be from Microsoft pops up on a user’s computer to inform them that their device has been infected or hacked. The user is instructed to call a phone number listed in the pop-up. If the number is called, the person is instructed to purchase gift cards and relay the information to the person at the other end of the call. Often times these individuals take over control of a person’s computer and can view vital personal and banking information. People have also been told to withdraw cash and mail it to an address that the person gives them.
Tech support scammers deceive people into thinking that their computer has been “hacked” or “infected” and they will fix the problem for them. This type of scammer attempts to get people to pay them to fix these “problems” on their computer. If people allow them access to their computer, the scammer can install malware, ransomware, or other unwanted programs that can steal personal information.
If you should get this pop-up on your computer, DO NOT respond to the phone number listed. Bring your computer to a reputable repair shop to have it checked for viruses and other potential harmful programs.
As per Microsoft:
- “Microsoft does not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information, or to provide technical support to fix your computer. Any communication with Microsoft has to be initiated by you.
- If a pop-up or error message appears with a phone number, don’t call the number. Error and warning messages from Microsoft never include a phone number.
- Microsoft technical support will never ask that you pay for support in the form of Bitcoin or gift cards.”
You can help Microsoft stop scammers by reporting tech scams to:
Used with permission from Microsoft