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By: Tom Riddle
With the advent of computer technology, fraud and deceit has evolved into something more sophisticated – beyond the understanding of the innocent and the computer illiterate. It has given birth to online fraud which has enabled cyber criminals – here at home and abroad – to reach out and rob us of our hard earned money. One such scam which has proved to be the most successful is known as the fake Microsoft tech support which is known to be mainly operating from the Indian subcontinent.
Yes, once again this scam involves Indians – not surprisingly. You probably may or may not have heard of this so called Microsoft tech support scam – a swindle, designed to target the less tech savvy – like the elderly or those who lack the sense to detect a scam when they come across one. So, here’s how the scam works: you get a call from someone – usually the caller has a thick Indian accent – claiming to be a technical support engineer from Microsoft, he or she usually starts a conversation with: “I am calling you from Microsoft, your internet service provider has contacted us regarding a virus problem with your computer, and we need to diagnose the problem.” Naturally, your reaction would be shock and confusion – why would Microsoft call you if this matter wasn’t critical – you would wonder.
Additionally, the scammer will also ask to gain remote access to your PC in order to prove his or her claim. Consequently, if you decide to grant them remote access, they do pull up various windows errors to prove their claim true – once they have your full attention, they advise you that you would need to purchase Microsoft’s insurance which only costs $299.99 for lifetime support – the scammer may also add that it’s an absolute bargain for the support your get. Once you decide to go ahead with the purchase, they ask you to come on team viewer and make a payment from pay pal for $299.99. In some cases, victims of this scam also had their data stolen during remote support session – this is more likely to happen if the scammer on the other end feels that their victim lacks technical knowledge. Thus, it’s advisable that you should always encrypt your data with software which acts as a virtual Folder Lock.
This scam has been around since 2008, but reports of people receiving such calls have seen an upsurge in the past three months – mainly targeting victims in the United Kingdom. After a thorough investigation into this matter, UK authorities determined that the scammers are actually located outside of UK – most likely in India – utilizing VOIP software (voice over internet protocol) with UK call back numbers in order to look authentic. Consequently, it doesn’t cost these scammers even a single penny to make these calls – resulting in a lucrative business with little or no overhead costs – all the while swindling hundreds of dollars from unsuspecting victims.
In March, the company’s website was shut down by its hosting service provider: Host Gator – after confirmation from Microsoft came through that they never make unsolicited calls to their customers – nor have they contracted with third party companies to provide technical support of such nature.
However, it seems like it’s a constant battle trying to stop these companies from victimizing unsuspecting folks– as more and more of these types of companies are popping up like mushrooms.
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