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.