Feeds

Microsoft warns on support scams

Thousands still falling for old-school tech support swindle

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
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

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.