Scammers have been calling New Brunswickers claiming to be from Microsoft, Windows or Outlook. They are offering to help fix an “issue” with your computer or sell you software. Once they have access to your computer, the scammer will try to:
- Trick you into installing malicious software that records your personal information, such as online banking usernames and passwords.
- Convince you to download software that will allow them to remotely control your computer. They may then change your settings or delete important files, leaving your computer vulnerable to viruses and other threats.
- Get your credit card number or other personal financial information so they may bill you for these fake tech support services.
“Remember, Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication we have with you must be initiated by you.” – Microsoft
How to recognize a Tech Support Scam
- The call comes out of the blue offering to help solve your computer problems, or telling you that a virus has been detected on your computer.
- The scammer threatens that your data or personal information may be at risk.
- Scammers may set up fake websites that cause pop-ups to appear on your screen warning that you have a virus and providing a number to call. Microsoft does not include phone numbers in their pop-up messages. Close these windows and contact Microsoft directly if you are concerned about the safety of your computer.
What to do if you receive a Tech Support Scam
- Hang up.
- Do not download or purchase any software.
- Do not give out any personal information, credit card numbers or other financial information.
- Never give control of your computer to someone unless you can confirm they are a legitimate representative of the tech support team. If you are uncertain or concerned about your computer, don’t take the risk. Hang up and contact the help desk for PC or Mac directly.
- Write down the caller’s information and report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
What to do if you are a victim of a Tech Support Scam
- Change your password and PIN for all online banking or financial services accounts and contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
- Change your passwords for:
- Your computer
- Your email account
- Other online accounts, such as social networking accounts
Where to report Tech Support Scam
Report Tech Support Email or Phone scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501. You can also report it to Microsoft.
Learn more about how to report fraud and where to report fraud.