Thursday, October 24, 2013

Scam callers pretend to be Microsoft employees


Scammers and con artists have been around for a long time. Although they might change their means every once in a while, their aim stays the same: getting money out of your pocket.

This particular scam starts as follows: your phone rings and the caller – usually with a strong Asian accent – asks for the householder, quoting their name and address before saying “I am calling from Microsoft’s Windows Service Centre. We’ve had a report from you service provider of virus problems on your computer.” 

After a couple minutes of research you can see that the following scam has been around for years. What’s so interesting about it then? It’s the fact that this time they called Firebrand’s Senior Microsoft Instructor, Mike Brown.

The caller, despite his strong accent, introduced himself as Richard Williams from the USA. He claimed to have an extensive list of viruses that Mike’s computer had. In fact, he proposed to prove it through the phone. He instructed Mike (funny, isn’t it?) to open Event Viewer and filter the application log to see all the error messages that were created by those so-called malicious programs on the computer. “Richard” told Mike that he had nothing to worry about, their tech department could fix this for him in no time but if the problem persisted, the "treatment" would be free. On the other hand, if the solution was successful and Mike was content, he could pay a yearly fee of £112 to stay protected. Then Mike was given a URL address to access and download a file required to use the service.

Once the scammer finished everything he wanted to say, Mike revealed himself. As a response he was transferred to a "senior manager", who began to question his expertise and quickly disconnected the call.

For more information on these calls read the Guardian’s articles - #1 and #2 - or listen to a real conversation in the following video:


Please be aware, share this information and don’t fall victim of this trick.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.