A few nights ago, whilst sitting at home enjoying the latest episode of Game of Thrones, I received a phone call from “James at Microsoft”.
Now, receiving calls from Microsoft is not particularly odd for me, I talk to Microsoft staff on a weekly basis. What was odd was that the call was at 7pm, on my home landline that is never used. I’d heard about these calls before, but never had one myself. This call was someone trying to trick me into thinking my PC had a fault. The wisest thing to do when you receive a call like this is simply to hang up, but in the interest of investigating further, I let him continue.
James told me that Microsoft had detected an error on my PC, and that he was going to help me fix it. I asked him which computer (I have 3 at home), and he told me the newest one.
He told me that he could talk me through opening the event log so he could show me the errors, so I agreed and let him give me instructions to open the event log. He then had me scroll through the event log and tell him what errors I could see.
James explained that the error was very serious, and needed to be fixed immediately or it would damage my PC. He then went on to explain that it will only cost $100 to fix, and that once I let him into my computer he would take me to a website where I could enter my credit card details.
At this point I hung up as I didn’t have a protected virtual PC setup to give him access to.
This scam has been going on for years, and is constantly evolving. The scammers using a phone call lends legitimacy to the whole thing, and unfortunately a lot of people fall for it so they continue to try and scam.
If you recieve a call like this, simply hang up. If you are interested to see how far the scam goes, you can find a fairly detailed account of the whole process here:
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