Scamwatch: new Microsoft fraud

If you receive a cold call from Microsoft, just hang up!

Angry woman shouting at phone

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, we expose a new "vishing" or telephone scam targeting Microsoft customers across the country.

How does it work?
There's a nasty new "vishing" scam in town, and it involves someone calling you and saying they are from Windows Customer Service.

The fraud is designed to capitalise on people's fears of being scammed, by indicating that their computers have been hacked and that bogus begging emails are being sent out from their address.

However, the real aim of the scam is to convince people to enter a code that is supposed to stop the dodgy emails but in fact gives the fraudsters remote access to their computers, laying them open to data theft and malware attacks.

How can I avoid being caught out?
Microsoft does not cold call people like this. So if you receive a call from someone saying they work for Microsoft, hang up immediately - even if the caller knows details such as your name and address.

Even more importantly, never follow their instructions, as this could lead to your computer being taken over by the criminals behind the scam.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?
If you think you have been caught out by this scam, the first thing to do is to change any passwords and login details that may have been made available to hackers.

You should also conduct a malware check using an online virus scanner such as the Microsoft Safety Scanner. Then report the problem to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040).

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