Scam Alert: Scammers Posing as MS Support Warning of Virus Infections

I had a phone call this morning while I was getting ready for work.  There was a gentleman at the other end of the call telling me he was calling from Microsoft support and that my computer was riddled with viruses.  Should that be virii?  I had read about these types of calls in the tech press.  I told the caller that my computer was fine but he insisted that it was not based on reports Microsoft had received from my machine.  I argued for a minute but finally had to hang up on him despite his urgent insistence.

It was a scam that was trying to get me to download software that would effectively riddle my computer with viruses and pay for the privilege no less.  I’m writing about this lest anyone get fooled by this approach to compromise a phone, laptop, or desktop computer.

More information is available from Microsoft (the real Microsoft), the Register, which is a tech site from the U.K., and the Malwarebytes blog.  The latter has specific examples of “errors” used by the scammers to alarm a potential mark.  Microsoft technical support never makes cold calls to Windows users.  The scam, by the way, has variations for Apple users.  That’s mentioned in the blog post.  Please don’t waste your time with these people. –Mark

One thought on “Scam Alert: Scammers Posing as MS Support Warning of Virus Infections

  1. Matt Z April 25, 2014 at 10:40 am Reply

    I had one of these calls recently as well. I played along for a bit to see how they would try to convince me that they were legit. They had me open a command interpreter (cmd.exe) and execute the assoc command. This simply lists file extensions and the programs that will open them on your PC. But a few lines up from the bottom you can find the letters CLSID and a string of characters. The caller told me that this was my unique client ID and read it off to me. He claimed that his knowledge of this value proved that he had legitimate access to private information about my computer.

    This is a lie, of course. The CLSID is nothing of the sort and is the same across a large number of Windows PCs. I explained this to the caller, at which point he hung up.

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