If you’ve ever gotten a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support, you may have been the target of a tech support scam. Here’s how tech support scams work and what you should do if you come across one.
How They Work
The scammer will usually call you out of the blue and claim to be from Microsoft tech support. They may say that your computer has a virus or that there’s a problem with your account. They may also say that they need to remotely access your computer to fix the issue.
Once they have gained your trust, they will try to convince you to give them your credit card information or allow them to remotely access your computer. They may also ask you to download software that will give them access to your computer.
If you give the scammer your credit card information, they will use it to make unauthorized charges. If you allow them to remotely access your computer, they may install malware that can steal your personal information or allow them to take control of your computer.
Warning Signs of a Microsoft Tech Support Scam
There are several warning signs that you may be the target of a Microsoft tech support scam. The caller might:
- Claim to be from Microsoft tech support and says there’s a problem with your computer. Microsoft will not call you to tell you there is an issue with your computer.
- Ask for your credit card information or access to your computer.
- Be pushy or pressure you to act quickly.
- Refuse to give you their contact information.
Immediate Action Steps If You Are Targeted By a Tech Support Scammer
If you are the victim of a tech support scam, follow these steps right away:
- Block the number that they called you from.
- Contact your bank or credit card company to report the fraud If you gave them your credit card or bank account information,
- If you paid using gift cards or money transfer, contact the company to see if you can get a refund.
- Run a virus scan and change all of your passwords if you gave them access to your computer.
- If you allowed them to remotely access your computer, disconnect your computer from the internet and run a virus scan. You may also want to contact a professional to help you remove any malware that was installed.
- Report the scam to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
- You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission.
How to Avoid Future Microsoft Tech Support Scams
Microsoft will never cold call you about your computer. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support, hang up and report it to Microsoft.
You can also protect yourself from these scams by never giving out personal information to someone you don’t know and by being wary of unsolicited phone calls. If you’re not sure whether a call is legitimate, you can always ask the caller to give you their contact information so you can call them back. You can also hang up and call Microsoft directly to see if there is a problem with your account.
To learn more about how to recognize, report and recover, visit our tech support scams page.