Good evening I’m calling from Microsoft, we have detected your computer has a virus

Hopefully you already know about this scam but this is the first time I’ve physically come across anyone who’s fallen for it.

Scam alert

Last night a friend told me he’s having trouble with his email.

A little back story. He’s just retired himself from a job within the educational sector where the computer he used and his email was provided and maintained by the college tech bods. So his computer knowledge is limited to poking about on a keyboard. He buys himself a laptop from PC World, signs up with Sky for everything and starts to plunder YouTube for videos.

Apparently he was having a few ‘problems’. His description of those last night sounded to me like the bloatware trial versions seemingly installed on every new Windows PC were asking him to pay up for the full versions.

Anyway 3 weeks in and he gets the phone call allegedly from Microsoft.
‘We’ve determined your computer has contracted a virus. We can clear this for you.’

It’s important to mention here that Microsoft is never going to phone you about anything, and there is no way they would know if you had a virus on your PC anyway.

At this point you also have to wonder where and how they got his phone number. It’s difficult to believe it was just by chance.

Foolishly and naively he allows them remote access, he couldn’t tell me how they did that but probably with Teamviewer, watches bemused as the mouse pointer magically flies around the screen doing and installing god knows what, and then gets asked to pony up £140 for a lifetimes support and protection. Presumably against any other scumbags trying the same con. Plus said scumbag convinces him the laptop is actually 3 years old not 3 weeks. Unlikely unless PC World are also major scam artists.
He offers up his credit card details.

Now he is still having problems, hence our conversation, and his attempts to call back to the “Microsoft” support guy for help under the lifetime support guarantee are met with “he is not available”.

I’m not willing to get involved in trying to sort the PC, which is likely to now contain some sort of trojan and possibly a key logger, so I gave him the bad news and told him to take it back to PC World, fess up to being an idiot and ask them to reformat and reinstall Windows. It’s probably too late to stop the payment, I just hope his card details don’t end up on another scumbags list.

There you go, not everyone is as clever as you.