Microsoft and the AARP have partnered up to provide information to would-be victims about tech support scams. The typical support scam starts off with a call from somebody claiming to work for Microsoft. They have distressing news: your computer has a virus! If you will follow their steps, they can confirm that this is the correct computer their system is flagging.
The next step from vary by scammer and case but they might direct you to a website that looks like it is performing a scan of your computer and finding malware or they could ask you to look in a certain folder or the Registry and if you find (perfectly normal) files or entries there, they’ll say that’s a symptom of the virus. Worst of all, there are those that will use a remote connection program to view your screen and control your computer, with control of your computer, they can view your computer and even corrupt it in such a way to break the computer.
Once convinced that there is a problem with their computer, the scammer will direct them to pay a certain amount of money so they can then “repair” the computer.
This scam is estimated to take more than $1.5 billion from victims. Microsoft has received over 175,000 customer complaints about fraudulent tech support scams since May 2014. You can report them to Microsoft here and the company has been able to sue a number of scammers for their actions.
To help combat the problem, Microsoft hosted 300 AARP members at its Redmond campus to explain the issue. The event was led by AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Ambassador and identity theft expert, Frank Abagnale (Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio’s role in Catch Me If You Can). Stemming from this event, a booklet was created jointly to explain tech support scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.
The booklet can be downloaded by clicking the image below or directly at https://news.microsoft.com/download/presskits/dcu/docs/DCUTechSupportScamsBooklet.pdf