Police from the Queensland Fraud and Corporate Crime Group are warning business owners following a dramatic increase in reports of a fake Microsoft virus scam.
Business owners are being warned about phone calls from a person purporting to represent Microsoft (or a company contracted by Microsoft) telling them they have a virus that needs to be fixed on their computer. The scam caller will usually add plausibility to the conversation by telling the victim that the company was alerted via the Microsoft fault reporting process.
The scam caller purporting to be from Microsoft will then offer to help “fix the problem”, which involves visiting a website which allows the scam caller to remotely take over the victim’s computer. After taking over the victims computer remotely, the scammer will point out the “problem” that needs fixing, then offer to fix it for a fee, payable by credit card.
“This is all just a scam. Microsoft has confirmed they are not cold-calling members of the community regarding viruses, computer problems or any other issue. Quite simply, these offenders are just looking to trick you into giving them money,” Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the State Crime Operations Command’s Fraud and Corporate Crime Group said.
“Giving someone you don’t know remote access to your computer is basically the same as handing your credit card details over to them. With this access, an offender can easily search your computer for banking or personal details or quite easily load Malware or Trojan software onto your computer. You may as well give them the key to your front door while you’re there.
“If someone calls you with an offer like this, hang up the phone immediately. These days it is important you do your research before handing over credit card details to anyone who contacts you by email or phone. If they are a legitimate company, they will have measures in place to help you verify they are genuine,” he said.