The Better Business Bureau has received an influx of calls from consumers who have been targeted by the “Microsoft phone scam.” In this scam, the consumer receives a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Corporation. The caller states that Microsoft has detected a virus on the consumer’s computer and they are calling to assist in remedying the problem. In actuality, these cybercriminals are either trying to gain remote access to the consumer’s computer or trying to download malicious software to extract personal information such as account numbers and passwords.
The BBB reminds consumers that Microsoft’s Online Safety and Security Center states that neither Microsoft nor its partners make unsolicited phone calls.
The following tips will help you avoid falling victim to cybercrime:
• Do not trust unsolicited calls. Never give out personal information, over the phone, to someone you don’t know. If the caller claims there is a security threat to your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly.
• Install virus detection. Help protect your computer from viruses by making sure you have virus detection software installed on your computer.
• Educate yourself and your family on safe web surfing. Always be attentive of what you click on and download, including, movies, files, browser plug-ins and add-ons. Also, simply avoid clicking on pop-up ads as they can direct you to other harmful sites. You can also adjust your browser settings to turn on safe search options.
If you think you may have fallen victim to a cybercriminal or allowed someone access your computer, the BBB recommends you immediately change your computer’s password as well as any other passwords you keep on your computer such as your email or online banking and proceed to find a computer repair company or person you can trust. Go to iowa.bbb.org to find reputable companies near you.