Microsoft Warns: 'PC Maintenance' Phone Call a Scam

Dennis Faas's picture

Only days after uncovering a major international ransomware problem, Microsoft has once again issued a new security warning involving a holiday hoax.

This time, scamsters are cold-call dialing people at home, claiming to be legitimate representatives of Microsoft. The tactic has been used before, though it involves a slightly new twist.

Microsoft Affiliation Validates Scam

Those affected by the swindle say that they received a cold-call from a third-party claiming to be a Microsoft representative, a Microsoft-affiliated brand, or of a third party contracted by Microsoft. The victim was asked to stay on the telephone and immediately check their computer for a potential issue, infection or virus, which had supposedly been detected by Microsoft.

Those who accepted the ploy were then coached to visit a specially crafted and malicious website, which then allowed online scumbags to take remote control of their computer. Users were then tricked into paying a fee to get their computer's problems fixed (even though there was technically nothing wrong).

Some victims of the scam even signed up for a bogus one year "computer maintenance" subscription. (Source:

New Scam Limited To Australia, For Now

While a similar scam like this has already made its way to North American users this year, this new scam (which varies slightly) is reportedly targeting only Australian computer users.

Microsoft says it is taking a proactive stance to prevent the scam from spreading.

Stuart Strathdee, Microsoft Australia's chief security advisor, has sent out an international warning that firmly states "Microsoft is not cold calling consumers in regards to malfunctioning PCs, viruses or any other matter. We strongly advise [all users] to simply hang up if they receive any call of this nature." (Source:

Those who believe themselves to be targets of this (or any similar) scam are urged to contact local police, or crime stoppers if they are ever unsure about the validity of an unexpected, questionable 'computer maintenance' phone call.

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