Internet Phone Scam

 Microsoft Survey Reveals Extent of Emerging Internet Phone Scam

Criminals targeting English-language markets, expected to go global

On June 16, 2011,  Microsoft Corp. released findings of a survey* into an emerging form  of Internet scam that targets English-language markets and costs victims on average $875.

The scam works by criminals posing as computer security engineers and calling people at home to tell them they are at risk of a computer security threat. The scammers tell their victims they are providing free security checks and add authenticity by claiming to represent legitimate companies and using telephone directories to refer to their victims by name.

Once they have tricked their victims into believing they have a problem and that the caller can help, the scammers are believed to run through a range of deception techniques designed to steal money.

Because phone scammers rely on deceiving, Microsoft believes the most effective protection lies in consumer education to prevent people from becoming victims in the first place.

The following is Microsoft’s advice:

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited calls related to a security problem, even if they claim to represent a respected company.

  • Never provide personal information, such as credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited caller.

  • Do not go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.

  • Take the caller’s information down and pass it to the authorities.

  • Use up-to-date versions of Windows and application software.

  • Make sure security updates are installed regularly.

  • Use a strong password and change it regularly.

  • Make sure the firewall is turned on and that antivirus software is installed and up to date.

  • Change their computer’s password, change the password on their main email account and change the password for any financial accounts, especially bank and credit cards.

  • Scan their computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if they have malware installed on their computer.

  • Contact their bank and credit card companies.

  • Further guidance is available at

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