Windows Technical Support Calling
Scammers might also initiate contact by displaying fake error messages on websites you visit, displaying support numbers and enticing you to call. They may also put your browser in full screen mode and display pop-up messages that won't go away, apparently locking your browser. These fake error messages aim to scare you into calling their "technical support hotline".
Windows Technical Support Calling
Microsoft does not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information, or to provide technical support to fix your computer. If you didn't ask us to, we won't call you to offer support.
Tech support scams are an industry-wide issue where scammers use scare tactics to trick users into paying for unnecessary technical support services that supposedly fix contrived device, platform, or software problems.
Scammers might also initiate contact by displaying fake error messages on websites you visit, displaying support numbers and enticing you to call. They can also put your browser on full screen and display pop-up messages that won't go away, essentially locking your browser. These fake error messages aim to trick you into calling an indicated technical support hotline. Note that Microsoft error and warning messages never include phone numbers.
"Sir, let me tell you, like when you buy an operating system like Microsoft Windows, we are the one who are able to provide the technical support regarding this operating system, OK? Microsoft never provides support for the Windows operating system and we are having official [garbled] of Microsoft, and that's why you are receiving this call."
A technical support scam, or tech support scam, is a type of fraud in which a scammer claims to offer a legitimate technical support service. Victims contact scammers in a variety of ways, often through fake pop-ups resembling error messages or via fake "help lines" advertised on websites owned by the scammers. Technical support scammers use social engineering and a variety of confidence tricks to persuade their victim of the presence of problems on their computer or mobile device, such as a malware infection, when there are no issues with the victim's device. The scammer will then persuade the victim to pay to fix the fictitious "problems" that they claim to have found. Payment is made to the scammer through ways which are hard to trace and have fewer consumer protections in place which could allow the victim to claim their money back, usually through gift cards.
Technical support scams have occurred as early as 2008. A 2017 study of technical support scams found that of the IPs that could be geolocated, 85% could be traced to locations in India, 7% to locations in the United States and 3% to locations in Costa Rica. Research into tech support scams suggests that millennials and those in generation Z have the highest exposure to such scams; however, senior citizens are more likely to fall for these scams and lose money to them. Technical support scams were named by Norton as the top phishing threat to consumers in October 2021; Microsoft found that 60% of consumers who took part in a survey had been exposed to a technical support scam within the previous twelve months. Responses to technical support scams include lawsuits brought against companies responsible for running fraudulent call centres and scam baiting.
A 2017 study of technical support scams published at the NDSS Symposium found that, of the tech support scams in which the IPs involved could be geolocated, 85% could be traced to locations in India, 7% to locations in the United States and 3% to locations in Costa Rica. India has millions of English speakers who are competing for relatively few jobs. One municipality had 114 jobs and received 19,000 applicants. This high level of unemployment serves as an incentive for tech scamming jobs, which are often well-paid. Additionally, scammers exploit the levels of unemployment by offering jobs to people desperate to be employed. Many scammers do not realise they are applying and being trained for tech support scam jobs, but many decide to stay after finding out the nature of their job as they feel it is too late to back out of the job and change careers. Scammers are forced to choose between keeping their job or becoming jobless. Some scammers convince themselves that they are targeting wealthy people that have money to spare, which justifies their theft, whilst others see their job as generating "easy money".
The preferred method of payment in a technical support scam is through gift cards. Gift cards are favoured by scammers because they are readily available to buy and have less consumer protections in place that could allow the victim to reclaim their money back. Additionally, the usage of gift cards as payment allows the scammers to extract money quickly whilst remaining anonymous. Tech support scammers have also been known to ask for payment in the form of cryptocurrency, cheques and direct bank transfers made through automated clearing house (the latter only gives victims 60 days to recover their funds).
Microsoft commissioned a survey by YouGov across 16 countries in July 2021 to research tech support scams and their impact on consumers. The survey found that approximately 60% of consumers who participated had been exposed to a technical support scam within the last 12 months. Victims reported losing an average of 200 USD to the scammers and many faced repeated interactions from other scammers once they had been successfully scammed. Norton named technical support scams as the top phishing threat to consumers in October 2021, having blocked over 12.3 million tech support scam URLs between July and September 2021.
Legal action has been taken against some companies carrying out technical support scams. In December 2014, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against a California-based company operating such scams for "misusing Microsoft's name and trademarks" and "creating security issues for victims by gaining access to their computers and installing malicious software, including a password grabber that could provide access to personal and financial information". In December 2015, the state of Washington sued the firm iYogi for scamming consumers and making false claims in order to scare the users into buying iYogi's diagnostic software. iYogi was also accused of falsely claiming that they were affiliated with Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Apple.
In September 2011, Microsoft dropped gold partner Comantra from its Microsoft Partner Network following accusations of involvement in cold-call technical-support scams. However, the ease of which companies that carry out technical support scams can be launched makes it difficult to prevent tech support scams from taking place.
Major search engines such as Bing and Google have taken steps to restrict the promotion of fake technical support websites through keyword advertising. Microsoft-owned advertising network Bing Ads (which services ad sales on Bing and Yahoo! Search engines) amended its terms of service in May 2016 to prohibit the advertising of third-party technical support services or ads claiming to "provide a service that can only be provided by the actual owner of the products or service advertised". Google announced a verification program in 2018 in an attempt to restrict advertising for third-party tech support to legitimate companies.
Technical support scams are nothing new, but oh boy are the fraudsters persistent. While this kind of criminal activity is most often associated with phone calls claiming to be from Microsoft and offering to clean your computer of non-existent malware, the scammers are always looking for new ways to con unwary users. Samuel P. Wang, a fraud researcher with Trend Micro, has uncovered a particularly convincing scam that is currently being exploited in the wild. The exploit methodology is simple: scare Windows users into calling the fake Microsoft Technical Support telephone hotline by freezing whatever web browser they happen to be using.
Thought to be using the traditional social engineering method of malvertising to distribute malicious links, the fraudsters direct potential victims to a web page that appears to be typical of a Microsoft technical support site. Nothing could actually be further from the truth, of course, and the user will be faced with two pop-up windows as they arrive. One asks for a username and password from the user while the other suggests they telephone Microsoft for urgent technical support as the computer has now been blocked. Clicking to cancel the authentication pop-up just loops the user back to the same page. The "support" window, meanwhile, claims that the computer has been infected by "a virus and a spyware" that has stolen your Facebook login, credit card details, email credentials and photos stored on the device. It urges the user to call a support number to remove the infection and prevent "further damage to our network." While such language would ordinarily be highly suspicious to most people, the scammers have employed another tactic to scare the user into believing the threat is real: freezing the web browser.
These support scam campaigns are designed to scare people into calling their fraudulent hotlines in order to gain remote access to the computer and extort a "support fee" for fixing the problem that doesn't exist. More often than not these support scammers are covering a number of possible payloads: remote installation of malware on your computer, stealing your credit card details or compromising your online banking login credentials.
Technical Support Engineer responsibilities include resolving network issues, configuring operating systems and using remote desktop connections to provide immediate support. You will use email and chat applications to give clients quick answers to simple IT issues. For more complex problems that require nuanced instruction, you will contact clients via phone and/or provide clear, written instructions and technical manuals. 041b061a72