Update – September 2016: Over 6 years after we first reported this Windows support scam, variations of it are still targeting households by phone; either offering to clean up your PC for a fee, threats to stop access to your device unless you pay them, or installing software which spies on your actions.
Jasmine at MoneyMagpie has a warning about a scam that she was targeted with following a call from someone claiming they were from “Windows”.
No, it’s nothing to do with double glazing, rather Microsoft’s operating system, with the caller claiming that you’ve contracted a virus.
I was contacted in this way by phone today. When the man told me this had happened I was immediately suspicious. How would Windows know? Why would they ring me to tell me? Who are these people?
When I asked him what company he was calling from he wouldn’t say. When I asked him what my IP address was he wouldn’t say. I said that if they could tell what had happened to my computer they must know what the IP address is. When he wouldn’t give me any of this information I put the phone down on him. I suggest you do too.
This scam is apparently not particularly new, here’s an interesting transcript of a call (as well as some recordings of variations of the scam) with someone claiming to be from a “Windows XP service center” which should ring alarm bells.
In that particular call, the caller claimed that his victim’s computer was infested with viruses, and that for a small fee they’d remove them.
They then ask if they can connect to your PC, so not only are they potentially conning you out of an unnecessary payment, they may also potentially be able to plant other stuff on your computer.
It should always raise suspicion when people ring you from out of the blue – always question their reasons for calling, ask who they’re working for and where they’re based, and crucially, ask for a number that you can call them back on. If they give you a number, you’ve got time to go and check them out online before deciding whether or not to call them back, but more than likely they won’t want to give you a number, which should confirm your suspicions.
Have you been targeted by this or any other telephone scam? Let us know in the comments below.
- Listen: Bank Scam Tricks Victim Out Of £12,000 (September 4, 2015)
- One In Four Brits Have Fallen Victim To A Scam: Watch A Scammer In Action (November 30, 2016)
- 8 Things Your Bank Should Never Ask You To Do (October 13, 2014)
- Student Loans Company Fraud Phone Calls (December 15, 2011)
- Beware Of Emails From HMRC Promising Tax Rebates (May 21, 2012)