Cases of criminals claiming to be calling “from Windows” to offer people computer remote support software are increasing. The calls, usually originating from India or the Philippines, are scams aimed at installing malicious software (malware) to steal personal and financial data or to scare people into buying software they don’t need.
The callers usually introduce themselves as being from Windows IT remote support and claim that they have “identified” that the computer of the person being called is at risk of infection. They encourage the person being called to switch on their PC and usually direct them to the Windows operating system log. Here they play on a lack of advanced knowledge on the behalf of the computer user, suggesting to them that a number of harmless entries on the log are in fact serious issues, encouraging them to either buy software to “fix” it or to allow the bogus IT remote support caller to access their system to fix the fake issue.
A lot of these calls at the moment are being targeted at the UK, where software used to block calls on telephones cannot be used to stop international numbers. In one case, a man aged over 80 received six calls in one week from someone claiming to be from Windows, despite him never owning a computer. Cases of calls of this nature are also on the increase in the United States, where criminals use software to make it seem that the calls are generated from the State in which Microsoft are based.
Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States has attempted to track down, stop and charge those making these fake calls there is little that can be done to stop them. There are just too many syndicates and criminals using this approach worldwide to ever hope to stop them all. The best advice to spread is that if someone ever calls telling you that you need to switch on remote desktop support software for them to help you, you should simply end the call.
As Windows XP customer support from Microsoft is scheduled to end in April 2014 there is a concern that larger volumes of these calls will be made and people will be conned by them. Just like banks advise you that they will never phone or email you for your login details, Microsoft make it clear that they do not make random calls to people, offering Windows assistance or offering to fix errors.
If you are concerned that you have issues with Windows on your PC, you should always only visit the Microsoft website for assistance, or contact a reputable computer and IT specialist in your area.