Feeds

Microsoft warns on support scams

Thousands still falling for old-school tech support swindle

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A survey from Microsoft reveals just how widespread the fake tech support call scam is becoming.

The crooks cold-call people at home and claim to be calling from Microsoft or a well-known security firm and offering "free security checks".

The software giant surveyed 7,000 computer users in the UK, Ireland, US and Canada and found an average of 16 per cent of people had received such calls. In Ireland this rose to a staggering 26 per cent.

More than a fifth of those who received such a call, or 3 per cent of the total surveyed, were tricked into following the crooks instructions which ranged from allowing remote access of their machines, downloading dodgy code or in some cases giving credit card information in order to make purchases.

Microsoft said if someone claiming to be from Windows or Microsoft Tech Support calls you: "Do not purchase any software or services. Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the 'service'. If there is, hang up."

Redmond said 79 per cent of those tricked suffered financial loss – the average loss was $875 (£542). Losses ranged from just $82 (£51) in Ireland to a whopping $1,560 (£967) in Canada.

Microsoft warned that while the gangs were currently targeting English-speaking countries it was just a matter of time before they go after other countries.

The company advised anyone who had already fallen for such a scam to change their passwords, scan their machines for malware and contact their bank and credit card providers.

More on Microsoft tech support scams here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.