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Archive for the ‘tech support’ Category

Congratulations! You’ve won $800,000!!

Well, maybe not.

But that’s just one of the many ploys that scammers send in their relentless efforts to part people from their money or sensitive personal information like passwords and account numbers.

Microsoft is asking people to take a survey of their experience with online fraud—what kinds of scams they’ve encountered (including those on mobile devices and Facebook), how concerned they are about online or phone fraud, and what steps they take to protect themselves.

In 2012, Microsoft fielded its first such study, interviewing 1,000 US residents to understand their exposure to, and perception of, online fraud and scams.

Respondents reported having encountered roughly eight different scams on average, with these as the top four:

  • Scams that promise free things or coupons (44 percent)

  • Fake antivirus alerts that imitate real programs offering virus repair but that download malware instead (40 percent)

  • Phishing scams using fake messages that mimic those of trusted businesses to trick people into revealing personal information (39 percent)

  • Fraud that features a request for bank information or money upfront from someone (such as a “foreign prince”) who needs help transferring large sums of money for a cut of the total (39 percent)

In the new survey, we’re interested in how scams and responses to scams might have changed since 2012. Are there different scams? What are the most common? Where are they most often occurring—on mobile devices? On Facebook?

Results of our last survey showed that nearly everyone (97 percent) took steps to safeguard their computers, but more than half (52 percent) did nothing at all to protect their mobile devices. So we’re particularly interested to see if these numbers have changed. 

You can help us fight online scams and fraud by taking our survey.

We will release the results of the survey during National Cyber Security Awareness Month this October. Follow the hashtag #NCSAM to read the story. 

Congratulations! You’ve won $800,000!!

September 2nd, 2014 No comments

Well, maybe not.

But that’s just one of the many ploys that scammers send in their relentless efforts to part people from their money or sensitive personal information like passwords and account numbers.

Microsoft is asking people to take a survey of their experience with online fraud—what kinds of scams they’ve encountered (including those on mobile devices and Facebook), how concerned they are about online or phone fraud, and what steps they take to protect themselves.

In 2012, Microsoft fielded its first such study, interviewing 1,000 US residents to understand their exposure to, and perception of, online fraud and scams.

Respondents reported having encountered roughly eight different scams on average, with these as the top four:

  • Scams that promise free things or coupons (44 percent)
  • Fake antivirus alerts that imitate real programs offering virus repair but that download malware instead (40 percent)
  • Phishing scams using fake messages that mimic those of trusted businesses to trick people into revealing personal information (39 percent)
  • Fraud that features a request for bank information or money upfront from someone (such as a “foreign prince”) who needs help transferring large sums of money for a cut of the total (39 percent)

In the new survey, we’re interested in how scams and responses to scams might have changed since 2012. Are there different scams? What are the most common? Where are they most often occurring—on mobile devices? On Facebook?

Results of our last survey showed that nearly everyone (97 percent) took steps to safeguard their computers, but more than half (52 percent) did nothing at all to protect their mobile devices. So we’re particularly interested to see if these numbers have changed.

You can help us fight online scams and fraud by taking our survey.

We will release the results of the survey during National Cyber Security Awareness Month this October. Follow the hashtag #NCSAM to read the story.

Get the latest security updates and find out what to do if your computer is running Windows XP

April 8th, 2014 No comments

Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month.

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.

As a result, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date. (If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time, but this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer provide security updates to help protect your PC.)

More information

Remote Assistance 101

September 26th, 2013 No comments

What is Remote Assistance?

Windows Remote Assistance makes it easy for you to get computer help from someone you trust, such as a friend or technical support person whom you have contacted. The helper can use Remote Assistance to connect to your computer and walk you through a solution—even if that person isn’t nearby. You can also help someone else the same way.

When you use Remote Assistance, the helper can view your computer screen and chat with you about what you both see. With your permission, your helper can even use his or her own mouse and keyboard to control your computer and show you how to fix a problem.

To help ensure that only people you invite can connect to your computer by using Windows Remote Assistance, all sessions are encrypted and password protected.

Does Microsoft make unsolicited phone calls offering help using Remote Assistance?

Microsoft and Microsoft partners will never call you to charge you for computer fixes; if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft offering such a “service,” the call is not legitimate.

For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.

How do I get help by using Remote Assistance?

There are two ways to get help by using Windows Remote Assistance. If both you and your helper are running Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows RT on your computers, you can use Easy Connect. Otherwise, use an invitation file.

To get step-by-step directions for both of these methods, see Windows Remote Assistance: Frequently asked questions.

Get free or paid support for your malware problem

September 24th, 2013 No comments

Is your computer running slowly? Are programs starting unexpectedly? Is the activity light on your broadband or external modem constantly lit? Does it sound like your computer’s hard disk is continually working?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your computer might be infected with malware.

Scan your PC for viruses

If you suspect that your computer has a virus, you can download the Microsoft Safety Scanner. The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

Download the Microsoft Safety Scanner

Get help from the Microsoft forums

If you’ve scanned your computer and you can’t get rid of the virus, you might be able to get free help from the Microsoft Community. Check out the Viruses and Malware forum.

Get help from a Microsoft Answer Tech for $99

If you want to pay for help, a Microsoft Answer Tech can help track down viruses, malware, and spyware.  

Chat with an Answer Tech now

How to combat tech support phone scams

May 23rd, 2013 No comments

Nana writes:

“I received a telephone call at home from a person claiming to be from “Microsoft Operating Systems.” He had an urgent need to “fix” a virus. I had trouble understanding him, and when I starting asking questions, he got frustrated. Was this person calling from Microsoft?”

This person was not calling from Microsoft. Microsoft will not make unsolicited phone calls about computer security or software fixes. If you receive a call like this one, it’s a scam and all you need to do is hang up.

If you’ve already given your computer access to someone who called and claimed to be from Microsoft tech support, do the following:

  • Reset your computer’s password. Learn how to change your Windows 8 password. If you’re not using Windows 8, Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete, and then click Change a password. Make sure it’s a strong password.
  • Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer.
  • Make sure you’re using antivirus software. Windows 8 includes antivirus protection that’s turned on by default. If your computer isn’t running Windows 8, download Microsoft Security Essentials for free. Note that Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charges you for it, this is also a scam.

If you gave someone your credit card information to pay for services, contact your credit card company and alert them to this fraudulent purchase.

More information about how to avoid tech support phone scams.

Help your mother be safer online

May 7th, 2013 No comments

A great Mother’s Day gift idea: help your mom guard against viruses, fraud, and identity theft. Unless she’s a super geek or an IT professional (or both), we know she’ll appreciate it.

Make sure that your mother:

  • Has antivirus software from a trusted source and knows how to keep it updated. (Microsoft Security Essentials can be downloaded at no charge.)
  • Understands automatic updating. Encourage her to regularly install updates for all her software and subscribe to automatic updates wherever possible.  
  • Uses strong passwords and keeps them secret.
  • Knows to always keep her firewall on. Turning off this protective barrier between her computer and the Internet for even a minute increases the risk that her PC will be infected with malware.
  • Is aware of tech support phone scams and knows not to provide any personal information to callers who claim to be from Microsoft and offer to fix her computer.
  • Knows how to lock her mobile phone with a unique four-digit PIN. For more tips, you both can take our Facebook poll about mobile manners and safety.

Get more tips on how to stay safer with security software and scans.

Scams relating to the recent Microsoft Security Advisory

September 27th, 2012 No comments

Microsoft recently released a security update for Internet Explorer in response to Security Advisory 2757760.

Scammers will often use news items (especially those relating to computer security) to try to trick you into downloading malicious software or to steal your personal information. Scammers claiming to be from Microsoft might also contact you by phone and offer to help fix your computer.

Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes. For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.

If you receive a phone call about the recent Internet Explorer update or about another technical support issue, hang up. If you’re in the United States and you want to report the scam, the best place to report phone fraud is the Federal Trade Commission. For more information, see Reporting phone fraud.

If you receive a scam via email or a website, you can use Microsoft tools to report it.

Avoid scam phone calls

August 22nd, 2012 No comments

Gabby writes:

I just wanted to let you know that I received a phone call this evening from a guy called “Daniel” from “Technical Maintenance of Microsoft Windows.” He said that Microsoft had received error messages from my computer and he asked me to turn my computer on and follow his directions to fix this. I told him that I would sort it out myself and hung up on him.

That sounds like a typical tech support phone scam that cybercriminals use to:

  • Trick you into downloading malicious software.
  • Take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.

Gabby did the right thing by hanging up on “Daniel.” For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.

 

How to spot fraudulent tech support phone calls

May 24th, 2012 No comments

Betty writes:

I just received a call from a guy who said that my Windows was infected. He wanted me to sit in front of my computer while he fixed it. He became angry when I told him no and I hung up.

Thanks for writing, Betty. This type of call is a popular scam and you did exactly the right thing. Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories to call you and offer tech support. Once they’ve gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a website to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. If you do this, your computer and your personal information is vulnerable.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.
  • Do not purchase any software or services.
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.

Get more information on how to avoid tech support phone scams.

If you think you’ve been a victim of a tech support scam

If you think that you might have downloaded malware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, take these steps:

  • Change your computer’s password. Change your Hotmail or other email password if you’ve given it to the caller.
  • Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have malware installed on your computer. (This program automatically expires 10 days after you download it so it won’t clog your hard drive.)
  • Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program. If someone calls you to install this product and then charges you for it, this phone call is also a scam.)

Hang up on phone scams

November 29th, 2011 No comments

If you receive a phone call from someone who claims to be from Microsoft and says that your computer has a virus, hang up.

This call is probably from a cybercriminal who wants to charge you for a bogus service or trick you into installing malicious software on your computer that could capture sensitive data. Then, they might even charge you to remove the software that they tricked you into installing.

Microsoft does not make unsolicited calls to ask for personal information or to charge you for computer updates. You can update your computer automatically and for free with Windows Update.

For more information, see Phone Scammers: Here to help…themselves.

If you think you might have already been a victim of this scam, learn how to report it.

Get more information about how to avoid tech support phone scams.

Free answers to your security questions

October 25th, 2011 No comments

We get lots of questions about hacked email accounts, telephone scams, spyware, and viruses.

The community at Microsoft Answers might have already asked and answered your questions.

Microsoft Answers is a free forum where Microsoft engineers and security experts from all over the world answer technical and not-so-technical questions from people like you.

If you have a security or privacy question:

  1. Go to Microsoft Answers.
  2.  Select Find answers in the search area and type your question, or a keyword (like an error number) in the text box.
  3. Click Search and then look through the results for your answer.

Categories: Microsoft, tech support Tags:

End of support for Office XP and Windows Vista Service Pack 1

August 11th, 2011 No comments

If you use Office XP or Windows Vista Service Pack 1, upgrade now to help keep your computer safe.

On July 12, 2011 both Office XP and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 reached the end of the Extended Support phase of their lifecycles. This means Microsoft Update and automatic updating will not offer security updates for these versions any longer.

If you use Office XP, upgrade to Microsoft Office 2010. Microsoft recommends that you upgrade to Windows 7, but you can use Windows Update to get Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) automatically.

 For more information see:

Local news says, “Those calls are not coming from Microsoft”

May 16th, 2011 No comments

Senior attorney for Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), Richard Boscovich, appeared on Seattle’s NBC news last week to confirm that Microsoft will not cold call you to fix your computer.

If you’ve received a call from someone who claims to be from Microsoft and wants to fix your computer, hang up. You can also report these calls to the Federal Trade Commission.

To watch the video from King5.com, see Unsolicited tech support calls fake, says Microsoft.

For more information, read Don’t fall for phony phone tech support.

 

Help mom protect her PC

I am my mother’s tech support person.  As the only employee of Microsoft in our family, the role naturally fell to me.

Even if you don’t work in the technology sector, I’ll bet that many of you are also charged with keeping your mom’s computer safe from malware and keeping her personal information out of the hands of cybercriminals.

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are five important gifts you can give your mom to help her secure her computer. (Hint: These work for dads too!)

1.       Make sure your mom has automatic updating turned on.  When regular or unscheduled updates are ready to download, she doesn’t have to think about it.

2.       Make sure your mom has a firewall and that she keeps it turned on.

3.       Scan your mom’s computer with the new Microsoft Safety Scanner and remove any malicious software that she might already have on her computer.

4.       Install antivirus software from a trusted source and make sure it updates itself automatically. We recommend Microsoft Security Essentials.

5.       Show your mom some examples of popular scams and warn her not to open spam email messages, not to click links on suspicious websites or in pop-up windows, especially when they claim to sell antivirus software.

If your mom is at all interested in learning how to do this herself (mine isn’t), don’t forget to sign her up for our security newsletter.

Categories: malware, security, tech support Tags:

The Microsoft community has Answers

April 21st, 2011 No comments

We try to answer as many of your email messages and comment questions as we can. But if you want a faster answer (or a second opinion), try Microsoft Answers. Here, Microsoft support engineers and super geek volunteers from around the world participate in a forum for tech questions.

Follow these links to find answers to popular questions that you’ve been asking us lately:

To get answers to additional questions, type your question into Microsoft Answers or browse the forums on the following topics: