Microsoft warns its customers of cold-calling scam

2 Feb 2011

Software giant Microsoft today began issuing its Irish customers with warnings about scammers cold-calling businesses and consumers pretending to be from Microsoft but intent on conning them out of money.

The Data Protection Commissioner warned of the scam in recent weeks.

According to an email Microsoft sent its customers in Ireland this morning, Irish customers are receiving telephone calls from people pretending to be from Microsoft, telling them they have a virus on their computers.

Microsoft says it has been working closely with the Irish authorities, including An Gardai Siochana, the Data Protection Commissioner, ComReg and the National Consumer Agency, to warn the public and investigate the perpetrators.

“Consumers are cold called from someone claiming to be from Microsoft and told there is a problem with their computer and offered help to solve the computer problems,” Microsoft explained.

“Once the caller has gained the consumer’s trust, they ask consumers to log onto a website to download a file to help solve the problem.

“They then ask for credit card details for a package which will fix the virus. They also potentially attempt to steal from the person by accessing personal information on their computer. In addition to gaining access to your personal details, they can also infect your computer with damaging viruses and spyware,” the company warned.

Hang up on scammers

Microsoft says it is advising customers to treat all unsolicited phone calls with scepticism and not to provide any personal information to anyone over the phone or online.

“Anyone who receives an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft should hang up. We can assure you Microsoft does not make these kinds of calls,” the company emphasised.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years