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Scamming Microsoft… and You

I was on another call the other day, when ‘the beep’ came in.  It was from an unknown caller and since I have friends internationally, I tend to answer these calls.

Apologizing to the person I was talking to, I left and answered the call.

Then I heard it.  The distant buzzing silence of a sales call.  I don’t really know how to describe this sound-  a sort of a lagging delay.  I hung up.  If, in the unlikely chance it wasn’t a sales call, I knew friends would try back immediately.

I admit I have a rather unique phone setup which gives me some advantages.  I have a friend who owns this phone who is rarely here because she has retired and travels and lives in the Sunshine.  I, on the other hand, like 9 months of colder weather.  She needed to maintain her residency, and I wanted privacy.  I pay the bill, she has the phone number and I have my privacy.

The phone rang again.  I answered it.  They asked for Ms. Sunshine in poor English.

“She’s not here right now.  Thanks for your call.”  Click.

Ah.  Escape.

Five hours later, the phone rang again.

The cycle began again, except by this time the caller had gotten smart.

“Are you the primary computer user in the family?”


“I’m calling from Microsoft, and I’m calling to let you know that your computer has been downloading malicious viruses and dangerous files from the internet.”

I burst into laughter.  I’ve been a techie since 1986 when I built my first double disk drive DOS computer with no hard drive.

I then proceeded to explain to him very politely the error of his ways.  My computer is like a fortress- however, I am not so dense as to not realize that stuff can happen even with the best of protection.  Three words of advice here:  backup, Backup, Backup!

He was definitely not from Microsoft, and he had a malicious plan, possibly unbeknownst to him.  I have professional dealings with Microsoft, and I know people that work there.  I checked with them, and they informed me it was “a common scam”.

What they have in mind is total deception and you need to be aware of this.

The real plan is as follows:

They are going to try to sell you some software that will “fix” the problem.

They want you to pay for this “protection” via your credit card.

They want you to download this software.

They want you to install it, and then you will be “safe”.

Most likely the program they are selling you is either malware infested. a key logger, or a serious virus.  (A key logger is a program that remembers every character that is typed from your keyboard).

This can:

Totally destroy your computer sometimes even to the hardware.


Offer up every password to every site, leaving you open to identity theft, possible physical theft at your home because they will have probably gotten your address too if you do any business online.

Furthermore, it is possible for them to know every website you’ve gone to, and if you’ve gone somewhere intentionally or accidentally where you’ve done something socially unacceptable, they can blackmail you.

In summary, wisdom dictates that you do not respond to this type of call, ever.

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