This scam is known to target both home and business users.
To help you protect yourself from this threat we have compiled some information on how the scammers operate.
The scammer will call and claim to be from Microsoft, Intel, or a computer security company.Please be aware that it is extremely unlikely that Microsoft will contact you directly by telephone, and this alone is a strong indicator that the call is a scam.
If you do receive such a call, we recommend you ask for a name and callback number, perhaps under the pretense of being too busy at the moment. You can then call us and we can investigate the situation, record the phone number, and advise you how to proceed.
The scammer will claim to have access to error reports sent from your computer.
When the scammer calls, he will either claim to have received a large number of error reports sent from your computer or will explain that most computers are infected with numerous viruses and security problems and that he can show you where they are.
Whichever bait line the scammer uses he may want to "show you" the problems on your computer and will likely have you perform the following commands.
- Open the Start Menu
- Click Run
- Type “cmd” a black window titled "C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe" will appear
- Type “assoc” the command they ask you to type here is sometimes different
- Press Enter a large amount of data will be printed onto the screen
At this point the scammer has not gained access to your computer nor has he done anything damaging. He has simply caused some information about your computer to be printed to the screen. This information is the same on most computers and the scammer takes advantage of that. He may try to tell you he is reading the results from your screen. He is not. The scammer has not gained access to your computer. Rather, he knows what will be printed out because nearly every computer prints out the same thing. In the example presented nearly every computer will print the line:
The scammer may read this line and tell you it represents a virus or the serial number of your computer.
The scammer will ask for remote access to your computer, to fix the “problems.”
At this point, the scammer will instruct you to navigate to a website, or download a program that will allow him to access your computer remotely to fix the alleged problems.
Do not follow their instructions! Under no circumstances download or install any programs. No matter how persistent the scammer may be, refuse and hang up.
- Microsoft, Intel, etc. will not try to contact you, especially about alleged errors or viruses on your computer.
- Try to defer the call to us.
- Do not supply your credit card number. Microsoft will not ask for your credit card number over the phone.
- Do not agree to a remote connection