Tech support scammers have been around for a long time and are familiar to just about all of our readers. But last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had issued lawsuits against several culprits responsible for tech support scams. Now Microsoft has announced that it too is going after tech support scammers.
According to the company, more than 65,000 complaints have been made about tech support scams since May of this year alone. Bogus technicians, pretending to represent Microsoft, call the house offering fake tech support and trick people into paying hundreds of dollars to solve a non-existent issue. If successful in their ruse, the scammer then gains access to a person’s computer, which lets them steal personal and financial information and even install malware.
Microsoft is warning consumers that, with the holiday season here, scammers will be active and will target anyone, stating, “The holiday season is a popular time for scammers as more people engage in online activities, including shopping, donating to charity and searching for travel deals.”
Senior citizens tend to be more susceptible to these scams Microsoft adds, “Tech support scammers don't discriminate; they will go after anyone, but not surprisingly senior citizens have been among the most vulnerable."
- Do not purchase any software or services from someone claiming to be from Microsoft.
- Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
- Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
- Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.