Microsoft Scam Calls are Still Rampant
Microsoft scam calls have been around for a while, but they’re still detrimental. In 2018 alone, it’s estimated that tech support scammers managed to take a whopping $55 million out of the bank accounts of over 140,000 innocent people. These scammers call you out of the blue to catch you off guard. This is why it is important to know exactly how to handle scam calls and get real support when needed.
How to Identify Fraudulent Support
Unsolicited calls from anyone claiming to work for a software company and asking for bank information are not real. Similar calls telling you that your computer/device is infected are usually not real. The best thing to do would be to hang up, report the incident, and block the number. Unfortunately, some of these scams are becoming a little more sophisticated. Sometimes Microsoft scam calls may appear on your caller ID as the real number for Microsoft. This is called caller ID spoofing.
Caller ID spoofing is done through a computer program that allows the user to change the outgoing number to anything. This makes it harder to block and report the scammers.
In the event that you receive a call from any company such as Microsoft, you can always hang up and contact them yourself to confirm if the call was real or not. On Microsoft’s website, they have an option to instantly chat with a real Microsoft support person. You should be able to verify if you were actually being contacted by Microsoft or not. You can also find their real customer service numbers on the Microsoft website if you prefer talking on the phone.
If you are ever prompted with a pop up telling you to call immediately because something is wrong with your computer or information has been stolen, you can rest assured that it is not real. Microsoft error and warning messages will never have a phone number for you to call. Follow the steps below to get rid of and avoid these pop-ups.
How to Get Rid of Pop-Ups
If you are browsing the web when you receive a pop-up, all you have to do is close out of it. The best way to do that is by pressing CTRL+W. This will close the tab that is currently in focus without you having to click on anything. This minimizes the risk of you accidentally downloading malware by clicking a false X or initiating other hidden downloads. If you see something did get downloaded, do not click on it in the downloads bar. Go to your downloads folder of your computer and delete the download, followed by clearing your recycling bin to make sure it is completely off your machine.
To avoid browser-based pop-ups like this, make sure you have your pop up blocker enabled. We also recommend that internet users download an ad blocker like Adblock Plus. It is completely free and blocks any intrusive or misleading ads, but whitelists legitimate ads that are clearly labeled as advertisements. If pop-ups persist, check your browser extensions and make sure to uninstall any extensions that you do not recognize.
In the case of receiving odd system pop-ups, this is probably caused by a virus that is already on your computer. If these pop-ups are new and you recently installed some software, you might have missed something in the installer that was packaged with the software. Make sure to uninstall any non-native programs that you do not recognize. If you’ve been having pop-ups for a while and can’t pinpoint where they’re coming from, scan your computer with Windows Defender Antivirus which is built into Windows 10 (if you’re not running Windows 10, make sure to update soon to keep your computer secure).
Never Be Too Sure
It’s important to never immediately trust any email, phone call, or computer message that you receive. Make sure to confirm that you’re talking to the people you think you are to avoid falling victim to a scam that has claimed the dollars of so many. Keep your computer and your money safe and sound. Appletree clients frequently forward us emails and text messages that they’ve received. Many of these scams appear to be legit until we look closer at them. Check out our blog for how to spot a scam email.
When in doubt, feel free to contact Appletree, we’re happy to provide peace of mind.