If your phone rings and you hear a voice claiming to be from Microsoft, Windows Support, or any other reputable technology company, you should always treat the unsolicited call with immediate suspicion. Don’t take the caller’s claims as gospel - this is a scam, every time.
‘I’m calling from Microsoft…’
No, they’re not. Microsoft doesn’t call its customers directly in this fashion. Similar names may also be used, such as your broadband provider (claiming to know about a slow PC), Windows Support, Windows Helpdesk or Microsoft Research and Development Team. Each and every one is a lie.
‘I’m aware of some problems on your PC…’
Another lie. There’s no way for a company to know this. Even Microsoft can’t tell at any given time if one of its users is having IT problems, let alone link PC problems to your home phone number.
‘I can offer you a support plan…’
They’re after your money, plain and simple. You don’t need this support, and it can even involve paying them to install free software onto your computer. If you give them your bank or card details to sign up to a plan, they can potentially extract further money, too.
‘Let me access your computer to fix this…’
Keep them away from your computer – refuse any such request, or simply hang up. With access to your computer, hackers can install malware and steal your personal or financial information.
How to deal with scam calls
Hang up - solutions don’t get much easier than this. This may not, however, guarantee to stop the calls coming again in future. If you’re feeling more playful, try telling the caller that you don’t own a PC, or that you’re an IT expert yourself – other Which? members have reported this makes the caller hang up.
Report the call
To help the police and Microsoft tackle these calls, report the incident to Action Fraud. If you can, supply the name of the company (or at least, who they claimed to be), plus – if possible – the phone number they called you from.
Tel: 0300 123 2040
Web: www.actionfraud.police.uk/report fraud
If you’ve been a victim
If you’re worried that you’ve granted access to your PC or given your bank details to an unsolicited caller, it’s important to take some key steps. Contact Action Fraud and seek a crime reference number to help you pursue any lost funds from your bank. Alert your bank to what has happened, and to be extra safe, run an up-to-date security scan.
Scan your computer with an effective security tool. Read our Which? reviews of the best antivirus software.