Scammers Claiming to be from Microsoft Becoming More Prevalent - NBC Connecticut

Scammers Claiming to be from Microsoft Becoming More Prevalent

Thieves are pretending to be Microsoft over the phone in order to hijack computers. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016)

Nobody wants to have problems with their computer, and there is phone scam going around banking on that. They’re using the Microsoft name to scare you into giving them access to your computer.   

They ask for your user name and password to get remote access to your computer, claiming they will remove a virus.
But, once you give them access, they will actually plant a virus or do other harmful things to your computer, then charge you to have it removed. 
Stephen Vangasbeck has been getting harassed by the calls for months.  
“I had three calls in one week,” Vangasbeck said, explaining how pushy the callers are.
Vangasbeck said he’s never given them his information, but he is afraid other people will.
“It’s just getting frustrating because I know there are people out there who are going to be taken advantage of,” he said.
He’s right.
This scam has been making its rounds for years, but people are still getting beat by it. Microsoft has a warning about it on its website and the company even put out a video on YouTube in December.
“I encourage you to hang up,” Microsoft attorney Courtney Gregoire said in the video news release. “Microsoft, other trusted partners, do not cold call you and ask for remote access or your credit card information or payment information.”
However, many people still believe they’re being called by Microsoft.  
A company spokesperson told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters they have gotten more than 175,000 customer complaints about the phony tech support scam.
Stan Gryskiewicz, owner of P.C. Development Group in Windsor, said his customers contact him all the time  to see if the call is real. Some find out the hard way that it’s not.
“They have actually let these people log onto their system and they have had their data deleted,” Gryskiewicz said. “They have had data that has been encrypted.”
Sometimes Gryskiewicz has to do the clean-up on the cyber mess that phony phone techs leave behind and said he knows what to look for. 
“Sometimes you’ll get visible warnings that, hey your computer’s infected, or that there is some type of issue,” Gryskiewicz said. “But some viruses you really can’t see or detect unless you use the correct software.”
The scammers don’t want you to notice the virus because sometimes they are after more than the removal fee. 
“They can steal your information,” Gryskiewicz added. “As soon as they are on your computer they can take whatever they want.”
Experts suggest you take your computer to a professional to have it inspected if you have fallen for this scam and given someone remote access to your computer . 
These calls aren’t a problem unique to Microsoft. Experts said other company’s names are used also.  Microsoft said, overall, an estimated 3 million people will fork over more than a billion dollars to phony phone tech scams this year. 
Vangasbeck is glad he won’t be one of them.
To report a microsoft scam, click here.

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