Microsoft is Not Calling You!

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Truth: Microsoft Technicians are NOT going to call you and offer to help fix your computer.  That means that anyone who calls you claiming to be a Microsoft Technician is NOT telling you the truth.

There is no division within Microsoft tasked with calling users to help them fix their computers. Furthermore, there is no process within your operating system that “phones home” to Microsoft with your phone number so that they can “help” you.

Here’s what NOT to do when they call: DO NOT let them remote in to your computer to fix anything. DO NOT give them any credit card or bank account information. DO NOT let them install any programs.

Here’s what to do if someone calls saying they’re a technician with Microsoft: HANG UP.

They will be very convincing in the things they tell you, as long as you don’t understand that the things they’re telling you are complete hokum.  Here’s an example:

They will have you go into the Event Log, they’ll guide you carefully into it. They will have you look at events with yellow indicators next to the titles of them, and they will tell you that those things indicate errors that they need to fix.

Actually, those things are not errors. They are alerts, but your computer throws alerts all the time. An alert is just a “pay attention to me” thing, it is not an “OH MY GOODNESS THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END RIGHT NOW” thing.

It is unfortunate that this scam is still going, because that means that it’s making the scammers some money; if it wasn’t, they’d have abandoned it a couple of years ago. I’ve gotten at least three of these calls, and being a bit of a sadistic geek, I played with them until they got so frustrated with me that they eventually hung up on me. One of them wouldn’t believe me that I didn’t have an event log where he was telling me to look. He thought to ask if I was on a Mac, which I wasn’t at the time, but somehow it didn’t occur to him to ask about Linux. That operating system runs on the same kind of machines that Windows runs on, but the system doesn’t have the sort of event log he wanted me to find.  That was some fun there.

You know when your machine is misbehaving. Don’t let someone on the phone–who called YOU, not the other way around, talk you into giving them money or your credit card information or access to your machine.

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