These Microsoft cold calling scams are about IT vandals installing malware onto your computer. The definition of malware is a simple one: malware is software that is intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems. These scams usually start with a phone call. A plausible-sounding person calls pretending that they are from Microsoft and that errors have been discovered on your machine and this kind person is here to sort it out for you.
Often the so-called Microsoft caller will ask you to look at the event viewer which is a log of everything that has happened on the machine. Most events are simply information saying this or that service has started. Occasionally there are errors such as ‘this service hasn’t started’ – by the time you look it probably has. If you’re not used to seeing it, it can be pretty worrying. Well, your caller wants you worried!
The next step is often to take you to a web site where you can connect to a program that will allow them to take over your PC or laptop. Once they have control they can install all sorts of interesting malware. About now you might be asked for credit card details. They’ll take a hefty chunk of cash immediately and have the option of selling on your credit card details too.
If you’re reading this, you already know they’re not from Microsoft or Apple or anyone else you’ve heard of!
They’re Malware crooks – put the phone down!
But – if it’s too late you will need to disconnect your machine from the internet (unplug the ethernet cable or switch off wireless) and be prepared for some possibly lengthy repair work. There are some good anti-malware tools out there but it can be hard to know what is trustworthy because some are simply disguised malware.
What can you do if you’re the victim of a malware Microsoft cold calling scam?
Windows Offline Defender will create a bootable CD to allow a complete clean scan of your system. You can follow that up with Malwarebytes which requires installation but does a good job. If your already installed antivirus will run in safe mode then you can do that too. Finally you can use a tool like MSConfig or SysInternals’ AutoRuns to clean up suspicious looking start-up items.
Any credit cards used online should be reported as compromised immediately of course, and if you have paid anything out tell your card company you have been a victim of fraud. Change your online passwords.
Or call me – Ian Butterworth at Daubeneys IT
I can’t help with the credit and debit card problems but I can solve all your other malware problems caused by these Microsoft cold calling scams so do give me a call as soon as you can if you think you’ve been the victim of one of these IT vandals and I will put it right for you. Telephone: 01225 745732 Mobile: 07711 513722