We’ve heard from readers lately that a phone scam is going around town, in which callers purportedly from Microsoft or some other company tell you there’s a security problem with your computer.
Depending on the variation of the scam they will then urge you to (a) provide access info so they can log in and “fix” the problem, (b) download “security software”, or (c) send them money for future “virus protection”.
In the first two cases they in fact plant malicious software on your computer and in the third they have your money but provide no service.
Microsoft says on its website that they “will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication we have with you must be initiated by you.” Nor would any other other legitimate company.
This scam has been around for several years now. A 2012 CTV report said that thousands of Canadians had been taken in by it, forking out up to $1,500 to fix non-existent problems. Others spent thousands to restore compromised computers.
Under no circumstances should you give out personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, to an unknown person over the phone.