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Last week one of our customers was contacted by “Microsoft”. He was told that a virus had been discovered on his computer and that the “tech” needed access to his machine. By the end of the call his perfectly good computer was so infected with malware his best option was to wipe the device and start fresh, losing his personal data.

The worst part of the story is he thought he was talking to a Databranch engineer.

This scam has been around for a few years now and is showing no signs of slowing down. Here are a few tips to help you recognize the situation and avoid becoming their next victim.

  1. Unless you are expecting a call from Microsoft or Databranch, it is relatively safe to assume the call is not legitimate. If you are concerned, please hang-up and reach out to Microsoft or our office (716-373-4467) directly. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm, so if you get called outside of that time or at your home, please hang-up!
  2. DO NOT download any software, go to any links, or provide any personal or credit information. These scammers are looking to install malicious software on your machine to steal your passwords, online banking info, etc., trying to get you to click on links that give them remote access to your machine, or get you to provide them credit card information to pay them for their services. In the end, it’s all about the money and how much they can get from you!
  • Common organizations the scammers pretend to be from:
    • Windows Helpdesk
    • Windows Service Center
    • Microsoft Tech Support
    • Microsoft Support
    • Windows Technical Department Support Group
    • Microsoft Research and Development Team

If you have been victim of a telephone scam please take the following steps:

  1. Change your passwords
  2. Scan your computer for malware. One free program we recommend is called Malwarebytes.
  3. Install/Update Anti-Virus Software
  4. Report the call to the FTC – 1-877-FTC-HELP

When your system is compromised, the best thing you can have is a good back-up of your data. If your system is recoverable, the consequences of an attack are less severe. Click here to learn more about are favorite back-up/disaster recovery solution.

For another take on this scam check out this article from Forbes Tech: http://onforb.es/VOG9FI

Have you been a victim of a telephone scam? Share your story or ask any questions in the comments below!