Thursday, 11 April 2013

Microsoft 'tech support' scam.... Given a bad name to other Microsoft Engineers


I have seen this scam floating around for a while now and even my own mother got a call from them, I cannot believe this is still going on.

The scam involves a very convincing person calling you out of the blue and asking you some questions about your computer as there have had reports of issues with it and then showing you that it’s infected with virus’s and that your operating system is corrupt as you are having errors in your event logs.

Once they have shown you the ‘damage’ they give you a sales pitch about your warranty running out and for a one of payment you can have a life time warranty for your computer and all the other computers you own for only £200+.

Once you have agreed they transfer you to their ‘Microsoft Engineer’ (I use the word Engineer and Microsoft loosely); who use a desktop sharing program to connect your computer and ‘fix’ your computer.

The thing about the event log and your computer is that the computer never stops talking to the event log it logs everything from errors to random chatter and most of it can be ignored unless you are suffering some noticeable issues.  Ideally on a perfect system you would never get an error or warning logged but the truth is you do and most of the times it’s nothing that effects the way you work and are safe to forget about.

But the main thing is to only check the event logs when you start to notice issues.  Here is a screenshot of my event log and as you can see it’s very red and yellow though I am not worried at the moment as I am not suffering any issues and everything I use and do on the computer works.

The scam works by making the user panic by showing them so called evidence of an issue and then saying they are here to help and are from Microsoft (Which 100% there are not) and the problems will be fixed and guaranteed for life for a small fee.  They give all IT engineers a bad name and break the trust a customer has in all people that work in the IT industry.

I have seen the effect of these so called ‘IT engineers’; I had one that charged a customer £150 for a new video card, when all that needed to be done was the drivers needed installing, they were so angry, hurt and upset by the fact they were made a fool of by someone they thought was there to help them.

Wired.co.uk have an article about a senior security researcher called Jerome Segura from Malwarebytes who got one of those ‘Microsoft tech support’ calling him and he recorded the conversation with them and what they did to one of his computers.

The video of the conversation is also in the article as well and it makes for an interesting watch as you get to see social engineering in action and how easy it could be to give away the wrong information to someone you believe to be something they are not.

There is also a page on Microsoft website offering advice about this scam and how to avoid it.

The main point which i give to my customers is when they ask me about this scam:

  • Microsoft will never call you about your computer; you have to call them.


2 comments:

  1. Thanks m8. did you watch the video on Wired the last 10 minutes or so are a real kicker; the fake IT support guy deletes his my documents and removes the network card drives!!

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