Business and Economics

Police Warn About “Microsoft” Pretenders

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September 17, 2013 — Michigan City police are warning people about a telephone computer scam by people pretending to be Microsoft support technicians.

The Michigan City Police Department says it has received complaints about the ongoing scam that targets senior citizens “and less-savvy computer owners believe that their computers are regulated or taken care of by ‘Microsoft’.”

The police say the suspects convince people to spend hundreds of dollars, using similar tricks to that of a fake antivirus software scam circulating the internet, also known as scareware, which portrays a fake risk to induce a computer user’s response.

Police report that, “In Michigan City a live phone version of the scam involves suspects who call and impersonate help desk engineers from legitimate software companies on their behalf.

“The scammers then pretend to warn users their PCs could be infected with malware and offer a free security check. The suspects will ‘cold call’ their victims and create a sense of urgency that a computer fix is critical.

In reality, the scammers trick victims into allowing them to remotely access the user’s computer and download malware. The scammers then ask for a credit card payment from the user to continue the ‘repair,’ which usually involves downloading fake security software to delete the malware the scammer just secretly installed.”

Michigan City police says this fraud mainly has affected seniors and novice computer users thinking they are actually speaking to a Microsoft representative, “Some calls can last hours and will always involve a ‘Green Dot’ credit card payment for ‘services.'”

The police says most suspects involved are overseas even though caller ID information might display common U.S. phone numbers.

The police are asking people to warn “less computer savvy family and friends about this scam.  Microsoft will NEVER initiate UNSOLICITED phone calls or emails regarding computer repair!”

 

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