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Popular scams using Microsoft, part 1 of 2

They're working to steal from you!
They're working to steal from you!
Photo courtesy of chanpipat/

Over 26% of adults in the U.S. have been victims of telemarketing fraud at some point in their lives. About 57% of them are over the age of 50. Why and how is this happening? Which methods are most often used?

Seniors are especially vulnerable because they generally don’t have the advanced computer skills and knowledge the younger population enjoys. They are fearful of being ridiculed and/or deemed incompetent. Therefore, they are at greater risk than they think.

Currently, a highly popular way to trick people into giving their private information (or easy access to it) comes from the illegitimate use of the Microsoft Corporation’s name. It’s an easy rouse because that’s a very familiar name. Additionally, the perpetrators can effortlessly come up with plausible sounding “intros,” which don’t necessarily trigger immediate indications of danger.

There are five variations of the “Microsoft scam.” All involve people who claim to be representatives of the company.

The first variation is thieves contact potential victims, via phone or email, telling them there’s an issue with their computer that needs immediate repair. Then, they provide a link that will fix the problem.

The provided link is a bogus site that’s capable of capturing hidden, secret information from computers. In only a few seconds, it provides criminals with more than enough useful data about you, your financial accounts, and your habits. Armed with this, they can do irreparable damage.

It's the same for the second way these fake “Microsoft employees” get your information. They contact the potential victim with warnings about a dangerous virus on his or her computer. To unsuspecting and naïve targets, this is extremely disconcerting.

These crooks then provide a link to a phony “Microsoft Support Center.” It’s this site where a “technician” fools the victim into giving remote access to his or her computer. Once the thief can navigate your computer, all information on it is there for the taking.

To make matters worse, almost all of these rouses provide criminals with the ability to put spyware or malware on your computer. That way, they can continuously utilize it indefinitely, with all future updates and newly added information readily available.

There are many ways to combat these types of thieves. Most importantly, know that Microsoft does not make unsolicited contacts about your computer. The next installment features other ways Microsoft scams are used. Don’t miss it!

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