Microsoft warns of phone phishing scam

Microsoft warns of phone phishing scam

Summary: Phishers posing as computer security experts are targeting individuals and businesses to steal money and install malicious software on their computers.In a survey of 7,000 people, 15 percent across the UK, US, Ireland and Canada reported receiving a call from scammers, Microsoft said on Thursday.

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TOPICS: Storage
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Phishers posing as computer security experts are targeting individuals and businesses to steal money and install malicious software on their computers.

In a survey of 7,000 people, 15 percent across the UK, US, Ireland and Canada reported receiving a call from scammers, Microsoft said on Thursday. Of these, 22 percent had been deceived by the phishers and so lost money.

"The scam works by criminals posing as computer security engineers and calling people at home to tell them they are at risk of a computer security threat," Microsoft said. "The scammers tell their victims they are providing free security checks and add authenticity by claiming to represent legitimate companies and using telephone directories to refer to their victims by name."

The best way for people to protect themselves is to keep their computer's security software up to date and to be suspicious of unsolicited calls.

Once trust has been established, the scammers attempt to make the victim think there's something wrong with their computer. They then trick them into downloading software that gives hackers remote access to their computer.

The "vast majority" of individuals scammed in this way suffered some sort of financial loss, Microsoft said. Also, those affected carry a further cost; as they then have to repair the damage caused to their computers by the hackers, the costs of which can range between $1,730 (£1,068) and $4,800.

At the moment, the scam appears to only operate in countries where the predominant language is English, however Microsoft's director of international public relations, Richard Saunders, believes it will broaden out to other languages.

"Fake lottery scams and other forms of internet scams have followed this pattern," he said.

Topic: Storage

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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6 comments
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  • scammers can try i had a msn messenger from a lady posing as a scammer asking to marry her by giving money to nigerian person i said i dont know you and logged out blocked and reported for scam i aint that stupid with these things im very wise not to fall for things
    lugia-d1724
  • I receive a call from these guys nearly every week for perhaps a year .
    Usually a heavily accented Asian guy calling himself "John" .
    There are some videos on youtube of people winding the scammers up and leaving them hanging on the phone for ages (always seems to be VOIP , bad quality line) .
    whowhatme
  • This is really interesting post. I too was a target of this group of people for the past one week now. If i;m to count it, I have received up to 20 emails claiming that I have won an iPad, some lotto and one funny thing is that if they sent one now and I spammed it, within 20 minutes, another one will come in and another 20 seconds the same thing with different title, contents and some other things like links and others.
    anonymous
  • that's how some of the message looks...thanks for sharing friend.
    anonymous
  • I reported on the phishing scam back in April of this year. Microsoft have been very slow to issue this warning (3 months later). I cannot believe that mainstream media missed the opportunity to jump on this scam.

    http://articlechase.com/Microsoft-Sec​urity-6-Digit-Telephone-Scam.php

    Microsoft could have told you months ago even if it was in investigation stages, early warnings save people from scams.

    You cannot possibly say "who would fall for this!"

    Quite simply there are those that will fall for a well co-ordinated scam, which includes you. Unfortunately there are those who are new to the internet, and IT illiterate. Simple!
    ArticleChase
  • Hi i had been getting several phone calls from a man who wanted me to go on my computer to check my security and it would only take a few minutes. I checked the phone number who rang it was all 00000's. I have since found out this is a scam to get my bank details thankfully i didnt fall for this trick. Incidently a fortnight before this i had my bank card cloned and was detected and stopped by the bank straight away (brilliant and quick work from the bank) So a warning to everyone ' Dont Believe Everything At Face Value That People Tell You'
    beetroot