- Part 1 - Phone call from ‘Microsoft’ about virus is a scam
- Part 2 - 2012 Update to the ‘Microsoft’ phone scam call about a virus
- Part 3 - Questions and Answers about the ‘Microsoft’ virus phone scam
This article deals with some Questions and Answers relating to the Microsoft virus phone scam.
I had promised in an earlier article to post some Questions and Answers about the scam where a caller claims they are from ‘Microsoft’ and you have some kind of virus on your computer. So here it is.
I will add more Questions and Answers soon, but here are some of the common questions that people ask.
Q. Are they calling from Microsoft?
A. No. Microsoft absolutely do not make any calls of these kind whatsoever. The point of the Microsoft virus phone scam is that the caller tried to make you believe that they are from Microsoft or an associated company by using recognisable words like Windows, Microsoft or similar.
A. It is not completely clear how they are getting hold of telephone numbers. Some people have suggested they are just reading through the phone book. But there are cases where people’s phone numbers are ex-directory or newly setup telephone numbers, and they still receive calls.
Q. How do they know my name and address?
A. This would be easily explained if they were reading through a phone book or similar directory. Even online copies of the phone book list names and addresses.
Q. I have signed up not to get marketing phone calls – Why are they still ringing me?
A. In every country there is an optional signup service whereby you can request not to get any marketing telephone calls. For example, in the UK it is called the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and it is a simple matter of adding your telephone number to their list and reputable marketers are bound to an agreement not to call you. However, even if you are signed up for these services, it appears you can still get called by these people. These scammers involved in the Microsoft virus phone scam are in breach of these agreements and they don’t care.
Q. I followed their instructions about checking things but I didn’t download any remote control software. Am I at risk?
A. Probably not. If you did not download any remote control software, or anything else they asked you to go to on the internet, there is very little possibility that they could have transferred any virus or malware to your computer. But there’s no harm in running a simple scan with your anti-virus program and MalwareBytes Anti-Malware.
Q. They took control of my computer with remote control software. Am I at risk? What do I do now?
A. Yes. Once you have allowed them to have remote control access of your computer, you have no idea what they might have been doing. It is possible that they could have been stealing information from your computer, login details for websites like Amazon/ebay/etc or online banking information. They could also have installed further viruses or malware that can sit there and steal further information over weeks and months while you use the computer yourself.
Depending on which remote control software they used, check your Add/Remove Programs list and see if there is anything new related to their remote control software. If there is, uninstall it.
Follow the steps in my Computer Virus and Malware Removal Guide.
If in doubt, consider getting a computer repair guy to perform a full check on your computer.
Only when you are happy that there is no infection, consider changing any important website logins and/or online banking details. You don’t want to change these if there is a chance you are still infected, as the virus or malware could just send the new details to the scammers.
Some people have mentioned doing a full wipe and re-install of Windows. I think that’s a bit excessive!
Q. They took control of my computer and now my desktop icons have disappeared. How do I get them back?
A. They are usually just hidden. Follow my guide for getting your desktop icons back.