Microsoft Does Not Automatically Call You When Your PC Is Supposedly Having A Problem

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Everyone has surely read about this scam right?  What happens is a phone call unexpectedly comes into your home and a supposed representative from Microsoft tells you that there is an issue with your computer which they just received a notice about.

They then typically ask you to turn on your computer and will give you some instructions to access a website and download a program that will fix the issue with your PC that they say you have.  That download is usually a piece of malware or a form that you then fill out to provide personal information such as name, address, phone number, credit card, etc. They may also tell you that they need to charge your credit card so they can fix the problem for you.

Once you submit that form to them they now have the information necessary to access personal accounts and make charges against your credit card.

Like many of you, I have read the warnings about this type of scam in the past however, I have never known someone who actually received one of these calls.  Well last night that changed as a good friend of my wife’s, whom I do some computer work for, received a phone call that was attempting this scam.

After challenging the caller concerning the validity of the call and refusing to carry out any of the steps he was asking her to do she told me the caller got very rude with her and threatened that the safety of the computer and her personal information was at risk.  He said her failure to do as he instructed could cause her even more problems.

To her credit she told the caller that she was first going to call a friend who works on computers, that was me, and asked them to call her back in 15 minutes to follow up. After leaving me a voicemail I called her and we talked about the phone call and she confirmed they have not called her back and I honestly do not expect they will.

You see she challenged them because she felt that something was just not right with the situation and that caused them to show part of their hand in the way they became rude towards her. 

I was thrilled with her savvy response but unfortunately there are many who do not challenge things like this and then find themselves victims of identity theft.  There is a reason people attempt these kind of scams and that is because they work with a significant number of people and that makes it profitable for the scammer.  As long as people are vulnerable to these types of things they will continue.

So how can you combat these types of scams?  Education and awareness.

Check out the Email and web scams: How to help protect yourself page at the Microsoft Safety and Security Center to learn more about protecting yourself from phishing and scam attempts.  You can also check out this collection of blog posts about fraud scams from the Safety and Security Center as well.

If you are ever in doubt about a situation take the time to do some research or ask a friend about it because it just may save you a lot of money and trouble in the long run.

And remember, Microsoft does not make house calls like this.

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25 thoughts on “Microsoft Does Not Automatically Call You When Your PC Is Supposedly Having A Problem

  1. I just got this call an hour or so ago. After having fun for 8 or so minutes, I called him on his bull, swore at him some, told him to “Get AIDS and die”, and then hung up. I had fun :D

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  3. I received a call just last month like this. I hung up on the guy and called MS and asked if these calls are real. Funny thing was he never said yes or no……I didn’t fall for the fake MS caller but ended up paying for a maintenance plan called GuruAid…..

  4. My 90 year old mother got caught up in this scam, I cancelled her credit card, disbutted the charges with the credit card, and the guy (from India) is still calling a year later.

  5. My scam call came from a NY phone number: 646-559-6131
    First let me say, we are on the do not call list, I guess I may have to check to see if that needs updated. The man had a thick Indian accent, the call was received early on a week day about a month ago, say 8am right as I was leaving for work. No one calls our house that early. I instantly knew it was a scam. I ask him, you’re getting error messages from my computer? and he replied yes. I then calmly told him: that’s interesting because I have a MAC (which I don’t). ‘pregnant pause’ he then says” oh and hangs up.
    The calls have continued every few days from the same number, a bit later in the morning. The one that came in last Tuesday was at 11am.

  6. I have had these calls several times. Usually an Indian voice.The conversation went like this.

    Scammer- “You have a problem with a virus in windows”

    Me- Is it the novovirus. That’s scary. Hold on and I will go and check the windows. At this point I sit and continue with what I was doing. When I come back I tell him that all my windows are locked and secure and I don’t see how the virus could get through the double glazing. Should I spray the rooms with antiseptic solutions and wear a face mask..?

    At this point he says, it’s on your computer, At this point I again say, wait and I will go and get it. After 5 minutes I come back and apologize for the time I took and tell him I appreciate his concern and that it is nice to find someone so helpful.

    What is it I have to do,- the usual scam about connecting to a website.

    I answer, do I have to telephone this website ? How can I do that if you are on the phone.

    No, no on your computer.

    How do I contact the website ?

    Type in this web address.

    I have only numbers on my computer, and tangents, sines and such like things. Is that the same thing ?

    That is a calculator !!!!

    Sorry, I call it a computer. Do you mean the thing like a small TV they call a laptop ?

    Yes !!!!!!

    Sorry I don’t have anything like that. So, about this virus, should I go and see my doctor ?

    End of conversation

  7. My wife and I have received several of these calls – immediately recognisable by the hollow sound on the line, the background talk and the Asian/American accent – they have claimed to have received many reports sent by our computer, showing we had viruses and other problems – we have asked (a) if our computer had a virus (which it doesn’t) why would it report to Microsoft? and (b) why would Microsoft care enough to call us? and (c) how did they get our phone number from the computer report? While they’re trying to explain, we just leave them talking to themselves for a while, then replace the receiver.

  8. Humanity, presently, is still very primitive. Present a person with a car, money or some form of material good and a bulk of information. Then ask the person to make a choice. The choice would most probably be the material good. It’s an indication of a lack of understanding of the power of information. If I have the information of the permanent cure for AIDS or CANCER, won’t I rule the world?

  9. I messed with them. Took a page from the movie ‘Hackers’ and told the caller that I was *so* glad he called because the BLT drive on my computer was giving me an HoR error. When they said it was a virus, I replied, ‘My *bacon, lettuce and tomato* drive has a *ham on rye* error because of a virus? I’m hanging up, don’t call again.’

  10. I used to get these calls every couple of weeks. I was suspicious from the get go. It got to the point where I knew it was a scam, and I used to yank their chains by playing along up until the point where I told them I was at work and the computer they were calling about might be my company issued laptop. I would then tell them out internal firewall was blocking the website they wanted me to go to. Another thing I used to do for a laugh at their expense was to pretend I was doing what they asked, then give them bogus information back! I had them laughing at one point!

  11. Just leave them high & dry by telling them your computer is an Apple Mac. That usually leaves them searching for words!!

  12. We get these calls on a regular basis. It has reached the point now that if we see on caller ID that the incoming call is international, then we usually don’t bother answering. However occasionally if I’m feeling mischievous, I do pick up and answer by saying “International Telephone Fraud Department – please hold the line while we trace your call.”
    Funnily enough the caller usually hangs up straight away.

  13. Had one of those yesterday … wasted at least 15 minutes of his time playing dumb. Then I told him my job (senior Unix engineer for a very well known IT company) followed by what I thought of him.. For some reason he hung up on me. No idea why.

  14. John P Coates March 8, 2013 at 2:59 PM -

    I am in the UK and have received numerous bogus MS calls over the last year. I have recently taken steps to significantly reduce the incidence of these calls. OptOut UK has been helpful.

  15. I received a call from someone with an Indian accent also. I told him what a looser and failure he was for doing the job he was doing, and I kept going without giving him a chance to talk. He hung up on me.

  16. @Richard: I received several of these calls from someone with an Indian accent, saying that the call was in response to reports MS had received about troubles with my PC booting up. Since I never had sent such reports and am generally wary of computer scams, I just hung up. With the comments below, now your know at least 4 people.

  17. I receive these scam calls on a regular basis. On one occasion when I asked the caller, an Indian accent named ‘Fred,’ if he was seriously expecting me to give him access to my computer or to believe that anything I find in my ‘event log’ is a serious threat to my computer, he called me a know-all and told me to get lost lol.

  18. i received one of the calls about 2 months ago. The woman was very insistant that microsoft had received too many error reports from my computer. After challenging her, she became very rude. So I just hung up.

  19. We are getting a lot of these calls at present, (by gentlemen with Indian accents) locally. But the tactic employed by the one who called me recently is new in my experience: he threatened to keep calling me back repeatedly until I listened to him and gave him an opportunity to justify his spiel.

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