A neighbor and client was just in my office to tell me that Microsoft called her yesterday. I cringed.
She told me about how quickly the man spoke, how many technical terms he bandied about, how knowledgeable he seemed, and how he even transferred her to a supervisor.
She said she objected and asked the man how he knew anything about her computer before calling. He told her Microsoft gets reports all the time from computers that are in need of critical help.
She asked, what kind of computer do I have? He didn't know and said it wasn't important.
She told me about how she followed his directions and opened a remote control session. He showed her more than 3000 errors and logs and then tried to sell her a maintenance package.
He told her he'd sign her up for a monthly subscription maintenance service if she'd just give him her credit card number.
She finally hung up.
I know you're probably thinking, "Why didn't she hang up immediately?!" or, "Why did she let him remote into her computer?" and maybe even, "What a maroon! I'd never be taken in by a scam like that!" Yeah, me, too. I couldn't believe this intelligent young woman was standing in front of me admitting to nearly falling for this scam. The thing is, we're so busy and we're so distracted that sometimes we forget to think things through. We click on links in emails, we download suspicious attachments and we get scammed by people pretending to be genuinely concerned or helpful.
The story doesn't end badly, by the way. We ran multiple scans on her computer and there doesn't appear to be any remnants or viruses or malware installed. She didn't give her credit card number or other personal identifying credit information.
You are your own best defense against malware, viruses and scams of all sorts. So think before you click and (sing it with me now).... Microsoft will never, ever, ever... call you on the phone! (Sorry, Taylor Swift!)