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Police warn of computer cold call scam

Sault Star:

The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service has received several complaints regarding a ‘Microsoft Support’ phone scam. The caller will claim to be from Microsoft Support, and tell you that they have received a message indicating you’re computer has been compromised.

Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you're using.

Once they've gained your trust, they might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. They may ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.

Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:

- Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.

- Take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.

- Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.

- Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.

Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.

Do not trust unsolicited calls and do not provide any personal information.

Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:

- Windows Helpdesk

- Windows Service Center

- Microsoft Tech Support

- Microsoft Support

- Windows Technical Department Support Group

- Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)

Protect yourself from telephone tech support scams.

- Do not purchase any software or services.

- Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the "service." If there is, hang up.

- Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.

- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.

If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:

- Change your computer's password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.

- Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.