Although not all of the fake tech support callers misrepresent that they are calling on behalf of Microsoft, claiming to represent Microsoft or Windows is most commonly used in such calls. Scammers also claim to represent other vendors such as Dell, McAfee and Norton.
Two operations working out of the state of Florida have conned tens of thousands of consumers out of more than $120 million through their deceptions. The FTC and state of Florida obtained a federal court orders to shut down those two operations for deceptively marketing computer software and tech support services. The court orders have additionally placed a temporary freeze on the defendants’ assets and have placed the businesses under the control of a court-appointed receiver.
As welcome as the FTC action is, fake tech support scams have been harassing people since early in 2009 and this is not the end of it. As I recommended over two years ago:
Should you receive an unsolicited telephone all from someone purporting to be from Microsoft (or any other vendor), the best advice is to just hang up! Microsoft does not make this type telephone call.There are also people who try to keep these cybercriminals on the telephone in order to not only waste their time but also to keep them tied up so they are not calling someone else who may not realize the caller is a scammer. Microsoft recently published an online form to Report a technical support scam. By supplying as much of the information as possible requested on the form, you will be assisting both
- Cyber Trust Blog: HOW TO: Report the Microsoft phone scam
- FTC: FTC Obtains Court Orders Temporarily Shutting Down Massive Tech Support Scams
- Microsoft Support: Report a technical support scam