That tech support phone call you received last week, from Microsoft (about Windows 7), was a scam. Even if it sounded legitimate, Microsoft is no longer offering tech support for Microsoft 7, as of January 14, 2020. Tech support scams come in all forms and varieties. The worrying part is that almost everyone owns a computer and these scams can be very convincing. Read along to find out how you can spot a Microsoft tech support scam by phone call, email, text, or message.
How Do These Scams on Microsoft Windows Work?
Before we begin this section, know that Microsoft will NEVER reach out to you to offer phone support. Use caution when you receive contact about tech support by email, text, message, or through a pop-up ad on a website. Microsoft tech support scammers often call their victims by phone. The caller might ask if your computer has been acting up and say that they’re an official “Microsoft Technical Support Representative”. They will claim that you need to upgrade your system or that they will help you fix a bug. They might allude to you needing to download Microsoft 10 or even say that your Windows license is about to expire.
The person on the phone might do one of the following things:
- Bill you for service and support you don’t actually need.
- Steal any credit card information you give them and use it for their own illegal purchases.
- Verify your personal information and then use it to obtain credit or sell it as part of identity theft.
- Ask for remote access to your computer and download a keylogger/malware or steal your credit card and financial information.
Assume that any call you receive offering tech support is a scam or not to be trusted. If you still believe the call is legitimate, ask for their direct phone number and extension… then research if it belongs to the actual company, online.
Common Signs of Tech Support Scams Include….
- The call being unsolicited: When a call about tech or Microsoft support comes to you unsolicited or unannounced, it’s guaranteed to be a scam.
- You can’t verify claims: Asking if your system has been running ‘slower than usual’ is a common lie scammers ask, knowing most people will say “yes”.
- Malicious Google results: If you call a support number, make sure you verify the number is actually for the company. Malicious SEO is when companies try and get their pages to rank higher in search engines like Google, but aren’t the company you’re looking for. You might mistakenly call a paid number or outside 3rd party tech support.
- They want remote access to your computer: When the person who called you wants access to your computer, you’re especially at risk. If you grant them access they will steal and use your information or download malware.
- The email address and website are a scam: When you look at emails, don’t look at the name or URL shown, click on the actual reply-to address (name@______.com, etc.) and read the official URL hyperlinked behind any in-body text.
How to Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams
Always call Microsoft directly and verify the phone number that you contact is from their official website and not another source. As Microsoft does not call users with tech support offers, hang up on anyone who calls you with a tech support offer, as it’s either a paid service or Microsoft tech support scams. If you want to verify a phone number, name, photograph, username, email address go to Social Catfish.
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