NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, December 2012
Microsoft Windows Telephone Scam – BEWARE!!
This really happened to a user group member in California.

One of our members (I'll save him embarrassment by calling him "Jim") has just been the victim of a phone scam involving Microsoft. Not the "real" Microsoft.

Fearing viruses on his computer, Jim allowed the "Microsoft tech support" man on the phone to enter his computer electronically to check. The caller "found" red flags next to items on the computer that indicated viruses and offered to fix the computer -- for a charge. Jim felt uncomfortable with this and said no. The "Microsoft" scammer said he would block the use of the computer if he was not paid. Jim hung up.

Unhappily, Jim discovered afterward that the scammer had indeed done something while connected to the computer so that Jim could not use it or the internet. Luckily, there was no financial or other sensitive information on the computer that could also have been taken by the scammer. If it had, that would have been another story. A very sad story.

However, not so luckily, Jim will not be able to use his computer again for a couple of days until it has been reformatted and all the programs reinstalled.

So, fellow members, this is an updated warning. It CAN happen to you. Jim wants you to know about and to learn from his awful experience. Here is a link at Microsoft that describes various scams using its name: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/msname.aspx

From the Windows Secrets newsletter < A href="http://windowssecrets.com/">http://windowssecrets.com/>:

“Everybody’s Event Viewer has red and yellow flags. Check yours right now and you’ll see them:

* Windows XP: Click Start, Control Panel, Performance and Maintenance, Administrative Tools; then double-click Computer Management.

* Vista: Do the same, except for the final step. Double-click Event Viewer instead.

* Win7: Click Start, type Event, click Event Viewer.

On the left of the Event Viewer window, expand the Windows Logs/System branch. See the ocean of colored flags? They’re mostly harmless, although they look alarming — which is why Windows makes it difficult to find them. It’s good fodder for a flimflam.”

Links to Microsoft Telephone Scam articles/information:

Microsoft Security & Safety Center - http://bit.ly/jxOzal Microsoft Answers – Virus and Malware - http://bit.ly/P4w9j2
InformationWeek Security - http://bit.ly/Rp7oAI
abc15.com - http://bit.ly/RbOedZ

Note from Judy: I’ve been on the phone with Jim Evans, APCUG Director, when he’s been called by one of these scam people. He’s using Skype with me so I was able to hear what the person was saying on his regular phone plus Jim’s responses. This has happened twice within the last six weeks or so. The last time, he was really leading the caller on but was having trouble understanding what he was saying. Conclusion, you’d think the scammers would have a better grasp of the English language before they call. The Microsoft telephone-based scams have been around since 2008.

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