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Microsoft phone scam hits Northwest

February 5, 2011

Microsoft phone scam hits Northwest
By Oregon Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau warns that consumers in multiple countries have received phishing phone calls impersonating Microsoft. BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington confirms the scam has hit the region.

How does the scam work? The caller impersonates a Microsoft representative and claims there is a serious virus or issue with the consumer’s computer. The caller may warn that if the problem is not solved, the computer will become unusable. To “fix” the problem, the consumer is directed to visit a website or download a program that gives the caller remote access to log in to the computer. In some cases, the consumer is then offered a preventative service for a fee.

The scam: the caller does not work for Microsoft. If the consumer takes the suggested actions, they give a stranger access to the data on their computer; putting them at risk for identity theft.

Microsoft’s website states, “We do not send unsolicited e-mail or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer.”

Warning: Be wary of unsolicited calls.

– Confirm the problem: Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller. If they claim to be from a specific entity, contact them using a trusted method and find out if there is a real issue. Don’t download attachments or trust e-mail links.
– Don’t agree to purchase over the phone: Ask for information in writing. Read the details and research the offer. If you still want to purchase, credit cards tend to have more protections than debit cards.
– Report fraudulent activity: Complaints can be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at Internet and e-mail scams can be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at Complaints about a specific business can be filed at

Victims of the Microsoft phishing scam should contact trusted tech support to ensure their computer is protected. Make sure system updates, virus and spyware protection are current. Contact financial institutions and notify them of the possible identity theft to change account numbers and passwords. Monitor accounts for unexplained charges. Check credit reports on a yearly basis for free by visiting

About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington:
Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit our Web site at

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Discuss this article

Nigel February 8, 2011

This scam has been hitting the UK since the beginning of December.

dan February 8, 2011

This scam has also been going around here in Toronto, Ontario CA. This I know because I received a call from someone who identified herself (female) as an employee of Microsoft, She said that their office received advice that my system had been infected by a virus and she offered to help. I knew she was fibbing, My system has Microsoft Security Essentials and I had just scanned my system. The MSE had given me notice that my system was healthy. I knew the call was a scam. Besides, why will the call be from a person who speaks with a heavy southasian accent and hardly in understandable english, and say that the call is from Microsoft!!!! This is plain BS. I told the caller to jump off the bus!!!!

Paul February 11, 2011

This scam has been active in Australia for the last 12 months.

Microsoft phone scam hits Northwest | Surprising Business New Snow February 20, 2011

[…] More… Posted in Uncategorized Tags: BBB, COMPUTER, Northwest By Oregon Better Business Bureau Better Business Bureau, SCAM, Western Washington You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]

DEBI February 22, 2011

Friend of mine rec’d phone call from a ‘microsoft rep’, that asked for him by name, Mr. Taylor. So we know this ‘rep’ knows his name and phone number.

This ‘rep’ tells my friend that his computer has been noted by microsoft to have a virus and it was going to crash in 15 min. He further states that he needs to gain remote acess and for my friend to go to to start remote assistance. My friend does this and the ‘rep’ is in his computer for approx. 10 mins.

Ok, I wasn’t born yesterday, I KNOW microsoft employees do not sit behind a desk and monitor the millions of computers every day to see if they are virus laden and decide to pull your name out of thin air and your phone number and call you to report it to you, I am over 50 but I am not senile !

I over hear the conversation, and am becoming concerned, my friend asks the ‘rep’ how much it will cost to repair this and the ‘rep’ does not say, but says he will need his credit card info.

Ok, I take the phone from my friend and ask the ‘rep’ what company his is with, he replies microsoft.

I tell him that I KNOW microsoft does not call people without the customer filing a repair/request, and getting a repair number. He further tells me that the computer is virus laden and will CRASH IN 15 MIN. !

I ask him for his phone number that I will call him back, he pauses and says 847-531-9241, yes this is the actual phone number he gave me, if anyone knows how to trace this number or find out info about it would be appreciated also. I unplug my friends computer to knock off the remote access and hang up the phone on the ‘rep’.

I immediately call Norton 360 to report this invasion and after paying 99.00 for the extra service they remote went in and scanned and fixed everything, i guess?

I have reported this to the FBI website on cybercrime and to microsoft.

Karen March 2, 2011

Just been contacted re: this same story. Also spoke to another NSW resident who has 3 calls in the last 2 weeks

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