Today has been interesting… I received an email from a long-time friend saying he had the strangest phone call, from MICROSOFT… They informed him that his system was vulnerable and that they wanted to help him fix it if he would give them access to his system by visiting a website.
This guy was born at night, but he wasn’t born last night, so he questioned it, and when he did so, they hung up on him as expected.
It seems a once popular old scam has returned from the grave. In fact, a quick Google search just now turned up this showing that it is happening elsewhere, not just here.
With that said, please keep in mind, Microsoft is NEVER going to to call you and offer to help fix your computer security issues. That is like thinking the US Government is going to call you up and offer to fix your financial woes.
This is called “Social Engineering” and it has been around for as long as people could reach out and touch someone. In the *old* days, a person would call their mark on the phone and tell them they were with Ma Bell and that they were updating their records. Then they would give them a little information about them, such as “We have your phone number as 555-1212, and your name is Joe Schmoe, we are setting up security measures so we can insure your privacy, can you please give me your mother’s maiden name? Now how about your social security number so we can identify you when you call us in the future?”. Sure enough, if the person on the other end of the phone sounded official, the mark would give them anything they wanted.
This only works on people who are trusting. So here is your warning to question things that come to you with no reason. Question that strange phone call asking for more information about you, question why you should open a particular link that a ‘friend’ sends you in email, question why you might need to install a codec, player or driver when visiting a website, and for goodness sakes, question why Microsoft might call you up wanting to help.
If you have fallen for this type of scam, please contact a computer service professional and have them thoroughly checkout your machine for rootkits, keystroke loggers, and other forms of malware. For more information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 864.990.4748 in the Greenville / Upstate area.
Have a very happy Thanksgiving, we ALL have so much to be thankful for!