Tech Support Scam
In this scam a caller poses as a computer technical support employee, perhaps even falsely identifying himself or herself as a Microsoft or "Windows support" representative. The caller seeks remote access to your computer and/or requests personal information.
In an attempt to gain access to your computer, the caller may try to convince you to download software that allows remote access to your computer. Such remote access could enable the caller to install anti-virus software that is worthless or otherwise available for free (and then charge you for it); potentially retrieve personal information stored in your computer, such as passwords, financial information or other personal information; or leave your computer vulnerable to future attacks or even damage or destroy it.
“Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls to charge you for computer security or software fixes,” Microsoft states in an advisory on its website. Microsoft warns that its technical support staff does not place unsolicited calls seeking payments for computer repairs or services. The company does, however, occasionally place calls to users with malware-infected computers. “These calls will be made by someone with whom you can verify you already are a customer,” according to the company’s online warning.
If you believe a criminal or scammer has targeted you through computer malware:
- Change your passwords. Change your email account password, as well as passwords to financial accounts.
- Use anti-virus software, including Microsoft Security Essentials, available for free, to scan your computer and fix any problems. Make sure to use a firewall. Update your operating system and software.
- Report the scam to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
888-777-4590 (outside of the Des Moines metro area)
Office of the Attorney General of Iowa
Consumer Protection Division
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0106