What to do if you think you’ve fallen for a phone scam

In recent years, many of our customers have reported phony tech support phone calls from people who claim to be from Microsoft. These callers are cybercriminals who want to:

  • Trick you into downloading malware.
  • Take control of your computer remotely and adjust its settings to expose it to security vulnerabilities.
  • Get your credit card information and bill you for phony services.

A few months ago, the FTC announced a major international crackdown on these scammers, but you still need to be vigilant and hang up if you suspect a call is fraudulent.

If you think you might have been a victim of a phone scam, downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website, or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:

  • Change your computer’s password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
  • Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.
  • If your computer is not running Windows 8, install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is free software, so only a scammer will call you and say there is a charge for installing it.)
  • If your computer is running Windows 8, run a scan with Windows Defender. (In Windows 8, Windows Defender replaces Microsoft Security Essentials.) Windows Defender runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. However, you can use it anytime to scan for malware.

For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.

 

About the Author
Eve Blakemore

Group Manager, Trustworthy Computing

Eve Blakemore is a Group Manager for Trustworthy Computing who delivers consumer guidance around the latest trends in security and privacy. Eve joined Microsoft in 1998 and has worked in corporate and field roles with Microsoft Learning, US Public Sector, Read more »

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13 comments
  1. Anonymous

    3 times I have been contacted by telephone by somebody saying I was speaking to

    Microsoft, which I didn't believe. They said my computer was going to crash and

    I needed to open it up.  Of course I told them to stop

    calling me.  I have reported this to my PROVIDER. They suggested I reported this to you.

  2. Anonymous

    Another important thing is reporting the scam-telephone-number online in order to warn other users!

  3. Anonymous

    Have been contacted by telephone by people saying they are from you and need me to start computer as I have been hacked into. Have asked for number to return call as busy and have for the first time been given a return number which was 0191 645 3022. Hope this may be or use to you.

  4. Anonymous

    i just received the same phone call and i got them to give me a callback number of 214-329-9692 and the website they gave me is ammyy.com

  5. Anonymous

    I have been contacted  by 'Microsoft Certified Engineers' claiming that my computer has notified them of errors relating to Internet security issues and corruption. They want me to provide remote access to show me the problems and then sell me a security package.

  6. Anonymous

    Just received a call about twenty min ago from the number 775-964-8200, callers name was Jennifer and she was calling to tell me that her office had received error reports from my computer (That has been turned on for the first time today since 9-06-2012), that my computer was showing many Malware and dangerous infections and my computer would crash at anytime due to these infections and malware. The callers where from an Indian speaking center for which I could hear numerous other fake tech callers speaking in the background describing that they where calling from a certified Microsoft operation center. They are asking computer owners to hit the shortcut for running a program. I figured out they where a scam since my computer hasn't been used or plugged in for over five months! so i took notes on names and phone numbers that hopefully will help you squish these idiots.

  7. Anonymous

    Got a call today from 235-683-4810 stating they were from a support company stating that I was not getting my Microsoft updates and he asked that I go on my computer and he would help me fix it. Obviously this never took place.

    Just for information

  8. Anonymous

    how about a website or blog that is detected by antivirus with computer crime, whether it is harmful to my computer?

    while web pages were tidaj intentionally or open, as where it?

  9. Anonymous

    just rcvd a call saying it was microsoft, the guy gave me a # of 8885746485. He sounded from india. Do you guys know anything about this?

  10. Anonymous

    I just received a call within the last week from these people and they sounded so legit that I fell for it and I let them have access to my computer. They showed me where my computer did have security warnings and errors and I believed what they were telling me until they told me that there would be a charge to clean up my computer. When they brought me to a form that i needed to complete and told me to "hurry" and input my credit card information, I became suspicious and told them that I wanted to call Microsoft and get further information. I attempted to take control of my computer by using my mouse to copy some of the information and they had a mouse on their side and they deleted important and unretrievable information that I had on my desktop, and then they emptied my recycle bin so that I could no longer access my files. I was devestated. I am usually very aware of scams like this but they sounded so legitimate and they did show me where I had security issues on my computer. I am so upset over this! Please don't fall for this like I did. Luckily, I did not give them my credit card information.

  11. Anonymous

    I put the phone down each time I was contacted by these scammers, but unfortunately for me, in the end, in view of their insistance, I began to wonder if I was wrong, and I gave in. Well, I had been right. I got ripped off once but was not aware of it until they came back to refund my money, under the name Microsoft Refund Corporation, telephone number 00 44 151 3245 999, and wanted me to go through India in order for them to refund my money (the sum was higher than the sum I'd paid, which made me suspicious anyway). I am currently blocking the payment. If you go on their site, which really does exist, you will find they have refined things, even reproducing Microsoft text warning people of such scams. It's when you read the comments by people (with English names) in bad English that it's obviously invented. Another give-away is their use of a webs.com address. This is just a provider of web sites. I have learnt my lesson the hard way.

  12. Anonymous

    Just been called by a technician claiming to be representing Microsoft saying that becasue of a trojan / malware  Windows cannot download the correct updates. Wantd to show me where the problem files were & help remove them. Gave a telephone number of 020 71935531

  13. Anonymous

    Also been contacted in regards to a virus on my computer gave a contact name of James oBrien the number he gave me was 07937413642.

    Something needs to be done by these people. Hope this infomation above helps someone.

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