The other day I got an interesting phone call from ‘Microsoft Support’. Actually, this was a scam or fake Microsoft call and it seems like a few people I know have received similar calls too, so I thought a quick post might help others out there.
The Windows Error Log Phone Call
The phone went and a guy on the other end introduced himself as Kevin from the Microsoft Support Department. (Other friends have been called by Steve and Mike. ) The caller had an Indian accent and didn’t strike me as your run-of-the-mill Kevin, but I guess I could be a little unfair on this count… He told me that the support department had received a number of error log reports that had been traced back to my computer. He had obviously got my details from the electoral register or by other means and wanted me to boot up the machine so he could talk me through the errors and fix them.
I asked what the errors were but he insisted on me starting the machine so he could go through them with me because “it would be easier”. I kept asking what messages he had got and where he got my number. He told me it was from the host PC I used when registering Windows. I asked which version and was told that the reports relate to Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. Didn’t the report tell him which version they were being generated by, I asked? I then told him that actually, I don’t own a PC and only run a virtual Windows machine on my Mac, which is on a local development server used for nothing other than looking at my own websites on Internet Explorer.
I was put on hold before his “supervisor” took over. He introduced himself as the Mac specialist and asked me to boot the virtual machine. I kept asking why (by this stage I was like a cat with a mouse!!!) and how was he going to be able to help? He said he would give me some details so he could log in remotely and fix the errors directly from the Microsoft Support Centre.
Basically, he wanted me to hand over control of my computer to someone who had called me out of the blue, on the most flimsy of premises and with no evidence to support his laughable attempt to remotely hack my Mac. Furthermore, can you seriously imagine Microsoft phoning anybody to offer support? When I said this to him, the call ended rather quickly with him hanging up.
I hope nobody has been burnt by these chancers. If you have had a similar call and DID allow access to your machine, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t get you to install something nasty or leave a backdoor open for them. Contact a reputable computer expert and get their advice asap.
For reference, I live in North London, UK.
Originally published December 6 2011.
UPDATE – July 8 2013
I have just had the call again, this time from another guy with a strong Indian accent calling himself Patrick, from a company called Technical Department Ezure! He said they are based in New Jersey US and their phone number is 020 328 98952. I’m aware these callers are still very active so let all your friends and family, particularly the less net-savvy ones know about this.General Microsoft Phone Call Scam