August 17, 2014 312-636-5691
ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN WARNS ILLINOIS RESIDENTS OF “MICROSOFT” TECH SUPPORT PHONE SCAM
Chicago ─ Attorney General Lisa Madigan today reported Illinois residents are being targeted by phone scammers who pose as representatives of Microsoft or related technology support service providers, claiming to have detected viruses or malware on targets’ computers to trick them into providing remote computer access or convincing targets to pay for unnecessary software fixes. Madigan’s office has received several complaints from Central Illinois residents who have received these calls.
As part of this scam, cybercriminals use publicly available phone directories to ascertain computer users’ names and other personal information when they call, according to Microsoft. The scammers might even guess what operating system users have on their computers. Once the scammers gain the target's trust, they typically ask for a user name and password or ask the target to install software that will let them access the target computer to “fix” the supposed problem. But instead of providing any service, they trick the target into installing malware that could steal sensitive data.
“If you receive a call like this, hang up the phone immediately,” Attorney General Madigan said. “Legitimate companies will not initiate a call to you and ask you for personal information. This is an outright scam.”
Madigan also offered the following tips to avoid falling victim to this scam:
- Never give your password out on the phone, and never provide your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from a technical support service.
- Do not expect caller ID will verify a legitimate caller. Scammers “spoof” phone numbers, meaning they use technology to appear to be calling from a legitimate source.
- If a caller pressures you to buy software or requests any other upfront payment, immediately hang up. If you’re worried about your computer’s security, call your security software company directly for more information.
- Put your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, and report illegal calls made to your phone number.
- If you think you might have been a victim of this scam, Attorney General Madigan suggested Illinois residents:
- Update or download legitimate security software applications to scan your computer. Delete anything identified as a problem.
- Change your passwords.
- If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, call your credit card provider using the toll-free number on the back of your card and report the unauthorized charges.
- Review your banking statements for other unauthorized charges.
- Call Attorney General Madigan’s Identity Theft Hotline (1-866-999-5630), which is staffed by a team of experts who provide one-on-one assistance to help consumers report identity thefts to law enforcement and financial institutions, repair their credit, and prevent future problems.