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Microsoft is not actively monitoring your computer and will not call you at home to tell you that you have security errors. So if you do get a call from Microsoft you want to be very very cautious – more than likely you are being hit with the Microsoft Phone Scam.



The Microsoft Phone Scam

microsoft-phone-scamThis Microsoft Phone Scam goes as far back a 2009, however a customer of mine just got hit with it this week and somehow he got the call right after he powered up his home laptop. Coincidence maybe?

The person phoning will tell you they are a technician calling from Microsoft and that some security system has expired. (I actually know of someone who said it was Bill Gates himself!) They will direct you to Windows Event Viewer and show you all the red “X”‘s there, and may direct you to the \Windows\Prefetch folder and show you all the files there. They may mention “Bonjour” as a malicious piece of software.

The Reality

  1. Having red “X”‘s in your event viewer is not necessarily a catastrophe, and may or may not refer to anything that deals with security.
  2. The \Windows\Prefetch folder is very legitimate and is a temporary holding spot for startup programs. You can delete everything in the Prefect folder and it will not impact your computer operations at all.
  3. Bonjour is actually a legitimate piece of software from Apple and manages some pieces of network communications. You’ll see it included in the Apple update screen.

The Solution

Hang up!
Don’t get fooled into thinking Microsoft would actually phone you directly and help you for free with this problem. They just don’t have the manpower or philosophy to engage you in this way. Whatever you do don’t give anyone remote access to your computer, that is courting disaster.
Have someone you trust review your computer and look for security flaws, check out your event viewer, and run a full virus and malware scan. This shouldn’t take more than an hour and is well worth the time and expense.

Stop and think before you just willingly believe the person on the other end of the phone and you will not be taken in by the Microsoft Phone Scam.

Has it happened to you?