July 2, 2013 - Tyler, TX - BBB reports new activity for a phone scam that’s making the rounds in which the caller claims to be from Microsoft, a trusted household name. The caller offers to repair a wifi network problem or remove a computer virus, all in an effort to gain remote control access to the consumer’s computer.
Consumers in East Texas have contacted the BBB to report receiving a phone call from a “Microsoft employee” who told them they ‘detected’ a virus on their computer. The callers identify themselves as being from Microsoft tech support, and claim the consumer’s computer has contracted a virus. They then provide the consumer with instructions on how to get rid of the virus by convincing them to allow remote access to the consumer’s computer.
“Giving an individual remote access to your computer without full knowledge of who you’re dealing with can open up a host of identity theft issues, as well as expose personal financial information”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “In this case, it’s best not to pick up the call at all.”
Cybercriminals may claim to be from Windows Helpdesk, Windows Service Center, Microsoft Tech Support, Microsoft Support, Windows Technical Department Support Group, or Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team). BBB reminds consumers that neither Microsoft nor its partners make unsolicited phone calls.
BBB advises consumers follow the following tips to protect themselves from scammers attempting to access their computer:
Go through your service provider directly. If you are concerned your computer may be exposed to viruses or other security threats, contact your service provider. Some providers offer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.
Install virus detection. To help protect your computer from viruses, make sure you have virus detection software on your computer. This software also can help identify a virus if it appears on your computer.
Investigate unsolicited calls. If caller ID display reads “Unknown”, do not answer.Never give personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know. If the caller claims there is a security threat to your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly. Remember, if the call is important, they will leave a message, and you can choose whether or not to return the call.
Find a computer repair company you can trust. Do your homework, and go to www.bbb.org to find a business you can trust.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373.