The ‘Microsoft scam’ is an additional technique being used by fraudsters to attempt and obtain economically rewarding individual details from computer users.
Mount Maunganui resident Liz Andrews received a recent overseas call offering help with a ‘registry problem’ on her computer.
“It was an overseas call because I could actually detect the echo in the voices when you are actually talking,” says Liz. The woman ongoing off being very actual and saying she was from Microsoft and that Microsoft had detected some worms and viruses on her computer that might affect her registry.
The problem was ‘quite serious’ and she wanted Liz to go online so she could talk her through the problem and fix it.
Liz said she was on dial-up, but the woman wasn’t that easily put off, asking Liz to get to some place where she might log on and talk. When Liz thought she would take any computer problems to her technician, she was told only an approved accredited Microsoft repairer could do it.
When Liz asks the woman to tell her where the error was, the woman hung up.
“I would call myself computer literate,” says Liz.
“People who aren’t educated would believe she is authentic and would go online and they would entrance your passwords or your bank details while they are there in your computer. They could even impregnate it with another virus.
“There are so many people who might have said: ‘yes, I will just go and log on and we will go though it now’ because she was genuine, but she put the fear of god into you at the same time. A very clever lady.”
She spoke with a ‘South American’ sounding accent, her call came up as private number; id withheld.
“I just wanted to get it out there, so hopefully save some poor person from losing money,” says Liz.
She told her neighbors’, and the Tauranga police.
“We’ve got lots of scams going on at the moment, but that’s not one that I’m aware of,” says Chris.
“It’s a little bit different from the usual, going for computer information, mostly it’s been people sending money overseas.”
The police website has information on Internet scams and frauds to help people work out what to do about internet scams and fraud, including the classic Nigerian Fee scam.
Police also have information on email hoaxes for any police-related hoaxes.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs Scam watch website has information on the latest internet scams and hoaxes.