Microsoft Warns: Fake Blue Screen of Death with 1-800 Number is a Scam

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has warned that scammers are trying to trick users with a fake "Blue Screen of Death" error message. The idea is to fool users into calling a bogus 1-800 tech support hotline.

The Blue Screen of Death is an unofficial name given to a particular type of error message which appears when a Windows computer suffers a serious malfunction. In most cases, once the screen appears the only option is to reboot the computer, usually by switching it off with a physical power button or by resetting the machine with a reset button (if it is available).

The idea of the screen is to give some indication of what the particular fault is. In the past, the screen was criticized for containing confusing technical jargon that didn't mean much to the average user, though Microsoft redesigned it for Windows 10 to include details which either explained the problem or could be passed on to a computer expert for more precise advice.

Screen Follows Fake Security Download

The new scam is actually a piece of malware dubbed Hicurdismos. It appears to be distributed mainly by scammers who disguise it as Microsoft Security Essentials, a standalone security program for Windows 7 and earlier. That seems to be a deliberate attempt by the scammers to target people who are actually seeking to secure their machines. (Source:

Hicrudismos is set up to stop the user being able to access the Task Manager. It also stops the mouse cursor appearing on screen. Both of these tactics are designed to create the false impression the computer has indeed crashed.

The on-screen message is closely modeled on the genuine Blue Screen of Death from Windows 10 and includes an error code that users can search for online. Unlike the real messages, this bogus one includes a 1-800 phone number to call for fake support.

Scammers Manning Bogus Hotline

This appears to be the purpose of the scam. Exactly what happens when people phone the number isn't detailed by Microsoft, but bogus support staff will likely attempt to trick victims into downloading (and perhaps paying for) additional "security software" which compromises the PC further and may include spyware that tries to steal passwords or personal data. From there, scammers might also try to persuade the victim to pay for additional fixes.

Microsoft says its genuine error messages will never include a support phone number. It also says its SmartScreen tool built into several Microsoft browsers and other applications should identify the original download of "Microsoft Security Essentials" as bogus. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Have you spotted a bogus "Blue Screen of Death" notice? Would you know how to tell if such a message was genuine? Has Microsoft done enough to warn users about the issue?

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Dennis Faas's picture

This is only marginally different than the typical browser scam that says that the machine is infected and to call a 1-800 number. Too bad there wasn't any way for some sort of organization to hunt down these idiots and give them the death penalty. If the NSA can hack a phone line then surely someone can trace where these fake 1-800 tech support scammers are hiding.

matt_2058's picture

I haven't seen a BSoD lately, so I don't know what a new version looks like. In the past, I've never seen a phone number anywhere on the BSoD. And if I did see one, I'd definitely do some checking to find out when MS became so proactive on glitches.

I've always thought it was odd the governments son't use those assets more on this kind of crap. They could do alot of good. But when I really think about it, the big gov is just like local policing. Overlook the things that don't get in the way of influential players. Forget about what is happening to the average majority. Really. I actually watch police drive right by people parked in a fire lane, parked in handicapped spaces, roll through stop signs, etc.

ronangel1's picture

I have had this twice first time on a sort of famous person died link from facebook page add. And second from a “private” website… was not picked up or blocked by Kaspersky or Malwarebytes professional.
Ctrl alt del did bring up task manager and I was able to kill all open copies of Firefox without problems. Came back, did same so left site went back later and no recurrence.
Two separate screens faded blue behind password entry screen which goes to external site, which I did not follow. No harm appears to have been done to computer, or any tasks that should not be there running as far as I could see. So as stated seems just to get person to call their bogus support site. Did not try mouse just killed task ASAP.

ronangel1's picture

I got the blue screen again in win 10 so decided to see how far I could go. Mouse working ok all the time. Only way to get rid of Ctrl+Alt+del task manager kill Firefox process. Will come back on new session, if cache files not cleared cookies not affected.
Putting anything in username and password boxes have no effect stays on screen can be cleared but comes back along with screen behind it. This script file appears to be to frighten people and does not do anything to computer as far as I can see. I think it is designed in this way so not to be picked up by antivirus and malware programs as harmless. The whole Idea is to get people to call telephone numbers and then run whatever scam on them. I have not called numbers.
I have put the two screen captures jpg files on my site server for people to see what this looks like.

Copy and paste Url's in to your browser.