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Internet Scams

The Microsoft Window’s Service Center scam

The Microsoft Window’s Service Center scam is something that has been active for quite a while. It all starts with a phone call with an overtly helpful customer care person at the other end. The main pitch is that there have been complaints from the user’s internet service provider stating the existence of a severe problem with the computer with respect to viruses. The how’s and why’s of the contact between the service provider and the service center is usually left to the victim’s imagination, which in most cases gets slowed down upon hearing the two terms “Microsoft” and “virus”.

The ploy has always been based around offering help to the user by asking them to open up Windows Event Viewer to check all recent activities and then downloading a cleanser program from a particular website. An offer of remotely controlling the machine from the caller’s side is also offered to ease the process. Upon downloading the cleanser program however the only thing that happens is that a malware gets installed on to the victim’s machine, which apart from showing that there are a huge number of viruses on the machine, also makes sure to collect all of the user’s personal data from the computer. The malware is also quite apt at concealing its true purpose as it is supposed to cling on to the machine and record all of the victim’s future online correspondences and data entries.

Apart from that what’s stated above, the other side of the card is not uncommonly, money. If someone provides a service, they are sure to charge for it as well. The repair fee is definitely quite exorbitant considering the irony of the word “repair” and to add to the woes of the victims- there never exists a way to get their money back upon their vivid of the scam.

The Works of the Trade

It is usual for a lot of computer users to have viruses on their machines. Computers might get slowed down and its performance might be hampered as well. It is however of absolute importance to use anti-virus softwares to clean up the mess instead of relying on distant phone calls offering help for the same.

The way the scam works is that internet users often end up downloading malwares on to their machines by surfing or clicking on unsafe websites or links. The scammers set out their web of viruses to see who gets caught in it. The moment someone gets caught, the call is made. Someone states that they are calling from Windows Service Center and asks whether the user has lately been having problems with their computer and asks them to check whether a certain file exists on their machine. The file as can be understood was planted by them even before the phone call was made.

From here on, the caller provides the user directions to download a virus cleansing software from a particular website or requests to take remote control over the user’s machine via softwares like Team Viewer and the likes. If a person is naïve enough to allow that then the fraudsters will claim control of the victim’s computer and readily access all of their private information. The cleansing software is in reality a malware whose job is to readily access data from the computer while maintaining that it is cleaning up and fixing the innumerable viruses on the victim’s machine. The worse part of this malware is that it attaches itself to the host machine and collects all data from future web surfing and confidential data entries that the user might make online, like email account details, banking details, passwords etc.

 Investigation and Facts

Investigations have directed that such calls have their origin in Kolkata, India. Investigators in the United Kingdom have gone so far as to say that all these call center scams might also be headed by a single person. The report states that in theory the email addresses and phone numbers of the victims night be obtained by illegal access of sales databases of the software companies and / or the machines of the victims.

Fact for the freshers to keep in mind is neither does Microsoft calls its users to ask whether their computer is not functioning perfectly nor does it offer to help them and / or ask for their banking details for charging a fee for the same. The company never even sends an email either for the same purpose. As a matter of fact Microsoft has alerted major online payment organizations like PayPal and AlertPay to freeze the accounts related to several fraudsters.

 Protection

In case one realizes that they have been scammed, the obvious thing to do is to stop using the computer and clean the hard drive before thinking of using it again. If credit card details were obtusely divulged, the issuing bank or company needs to be alerted immediately regarding the same. In case one had made payment to the fraudsters via their bank, a complaint can be sent to the bank requesting them to cancel the transfer. Finally it is advisable that one changes the passwords to their email accounts and bank accounts for safety’s sake and be careful not to divulge such secure details to anyone in the future.

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Discussion

42 thoughts on “The Microsoft Window’s Service Center scam

  1. fell for this, they said they were going to give me a refund for my PC cleaner program, and sent me to western union website to get account info. DON’T GIVE OUT YOUR ACCOUNT INFO!! TO THESE CROOKS

    Posted by CHRIS | January 26, 2014, 1:00 am
  2. Jan 25, 2014

    I just received a call from my Dad, MY DAD, this is not a story of someone elses, my Dad! I got him a computer for Christmas so he can start playing around and learning during his retirement. He’s been on FB for over a year now and figured it’s time for him to move on up! lol

    Well he received a phone call this morning from a guy named “Jack Wilson” from “WINDOWS” and he told my Dad that there is a virus on his computer that “they” have been informed about and he – Jack – will help my Dad take it off!!! WTF… Dad told him he doesn’t know anything about the computer and he’ll take his number and have his daughter call him back, Jack then says, oh no, that’s not necessary, I can walk you through it….blah, blah, blah!!! My Dad finally has the guy give him his number and tells him his daughter will call back!!!

    YOU KNOW I WENT THE HELL OFF!!!! I called the number: 786-224-0184 – it’s a call center based on the background noise, but not really a call center because of the lack of professionalism! I ask for Jack Wilson, the guys says, hey someone is calling for Jack Wilson… So a foreign guy, sounds Middle Eastern, gets on the phone. –Dad mentioned “it was a foreigner and I don’t know many foreigners named Jack!” smh

    I said, “you just called my father about a virus on his computer?” He said yes, we are monitoring his system and can tell that there is a virus on his computer and it’s downloading malware that can cause harm to his computer, I can show you how to get it off! I asked him what software he is using to monitor my fathers computer and who gave him permission? He said, we can do that! I said no you can not!!! I said, again, what software program is sending you this signal telling you that there is a virus on my fathers computer? He said WINDOWS, I said no, what software, Windows is the operating system! I said, do you work for MICROSOFT, he said YES!!! So then of course by this time I’m even more pissed cause I know his ass is lying and he asks why are you yelling at me, I said because there are a lot of crazy ass people in this world that try to take advantage of people and YOU JUST TOLD MY 66 YEAR OLD FATHER THAT THERE IS A VIRUS ON HIS COMPUTER AND THAT YOU ARE MONITORING HIS COMPUTER!!! So needless to say he hung up and when I called back three different times they wouldn’t answer the phone!!!

    Needless to say I will be contacting Microsoft and AT&T and blasting it to every organization I can think of to warn others… Please do they same!!!

    AGAIN, PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, AUNTS, UNCLES AND CHILDREN KNOW THAT THEY SHOULD NEVER DO ANYTHING REGARDING THEIR COMPUTER BECAUSE OF SOMETHING OR SOMEONE THAT HAS CALLED OR EMAILED THEM WITHOUT TALKING WITH YOU FIRST!!!

    SO VERY PROUD OF MY DADDY!!!

    Posted by Laurie D Zollicoffee-Neal | January 25, 2014, 7:35 pm
  3. They are still trying *69 gives me 4256689652 same as the original post, but when I asked if I could have a call back # they gave me 2012851622 (which is One Communications landline in Bayonne NJ ) he said my computer was infected I asked which one he said windows I said I have 5 he said errors coming from internet, told him I would call them back later today or tomorrow, bet they call me back before then lol. Warn people I know it was a boiler room in India as it was so loud. I also went to whitepages.com did reverse search and then reported the # so if others look they will see my note on the scam call, I suggest since there are a variety of #s you all do the same, it should slow them down :-)

    Posted by s | January 16, 2014, 8:20 pm
  4. I received one of these calls today fortunately what the guy at the other end didn’t know is I used to work in systems so knew it was a scam.. When he realized that I wasn’t going to fall for it both he & I hung up at the same time..

    Posted by Pat “nana41” Duncan | January 10, 2014, 8:52 pm
  5. I received a phone call to and the Guy said That he was working for window´s service center and he said That his phone call was to help to clean my cumputer of several problems. So i ask him where he was calling from. He was located in Toronto but he had an an Indain accent. So i was not to sure of what to do so I ask him to find me somebofy speeking in french so That I CAN understand what was all this. He said of course That his service was an English service so there was nobody there who CAN speak french .finally after few minutes seeing That i was not welling to let him Play With my computer he hang up.
    J’ai reçu plusieurs appels depuis quelques jours du no.4256689652 et lorsque je répondais ,personne ne parlait jusqu’à hier lorsqu’une personne avec un accent des Indes me dise en anglais qu’il travaillait pour Window center service et qu’il voulait m’aider a optimiser mon ordi. Car il voyait qu’il y avait beaucoup de problèmes et de virus. Je devais suivre ses instructions afin qu’il puisse rentrer dans mon ordi pour corriger le tout. Je ne savais pas trop si je devais lui faire confiance mais je sentais que ce n’était pas normal. Comme j’avais un peu de la difficulté à le comprendre ,dù a son accent, je lui ai demande d’où il appelait. Alors il m’a dit qu’il était basé à Toronto. Alors je lui ai dit que je voulais parler avec une personne parlant français. Il m’a répondu qu’il n’y avait personne qui parlait français,que c’était un service uniquement en anglais et qu’il me parlerait lentement afin que je puisse suivre ses instructions et que c’était très facile. Finalement devant mon insistance a me faire servir en français, il a raccroché . Je ne sais pas s’il vas rappeler.

    Posted by Pierre Richard | November 26, 2013, 9:20 am
  6. Plzzzzzzzz help*****They just called me a male said his name is mark jones he had an indain accent…they took control of my computer but I didn’t not give info because I wasn’t sure how legit this was and didn’t have 149 to pay nor 79 the amount he said he would lower it too….while I was reading this artical and on the phone I told the man I would have oto speak to my husband….he said fine and would call me back in the morning…..I am so scared that they will take my family pictures I will be letting my bank kno about this……anybody know if they can harm my computer after the fact??????

    Posted by ashley | November 19, 2013, 8:07 pm
  7. I, like the rest of those commenting was just contactes today and immediately searched for scam info. It is a great thing when the icommunity warns others of possible scams and other pitfalls.

    Posted by Way Words by Sterling | November 4, 2013, 8:56 pm
  8. I just got a call and realized it was a scam and read this article to the guy on the phone. He said his number was 778-487-2063. He argued for a while then finally hung up.

    Posted by Chris | November 4, 2013, 2:53 am
  9. I got a call from these jerks today. When the guy, “Russell,” asked me to click on Start and then Manage, I told him that this was a business computer and I was not authorized to do any maintenance and he would have to speak to my supervisor. I guess he thought, “Oh boy. I can screw a whole company,” because he agreed. I put the phone on mute for about a minute, then picked it up again and, using a fake voice, said, “Microsoft Tech Support. How may I help you?” For some funny reason, “Russell” just hung up. Imagine that.

    Posted by Howard | October 25, 2013, 12:04 am
  10. If you want to stop some of these calls you can always get a caller ID Block on private and unknown numbers, only crappy thing is it costs money but they wouldn’t get through anymore same with every other telemarketer

    Posted by dan | October 24, 2013, 8:22 pm
  11. I had a call from these people. I have a Mac with Windows Office so wasn’t sure if they were scammers. Said I would call them back and he gave me the phone # 832-426-2444 and said his name was Steven Richard. Of course I’ve never called.

    Posted by M Bostick | October 13, 2013, 9:45 pm
    • It just happened to me, too. Phone #786-224-0184. Of course the caller ID said ‘Unknown Number’. Beware! Who could believe anyone with an Indian accent and a name of David Watson? LOL

      Posted by K. Skinner | October 16, 2013, 6:46 pm
      • I got a call like this today. Name David Martin phone # 347-332-1135 very aggressive s.o.bs I hang up a few times only to have him call me back 7 times. Call cam in private and I questioned this as I did the reason for the call. How did you get my # and why are you calling me. I even called the 347 # did not sound like a company.I was told the call was long distance from LA. Bull Shit. 347 is ny. Glad I was not going to fall for this bull shit. Need to get these guys for the harassment.

        Posted by Doreen Geller | October 22, 2013, 3:36 am
      • I got a call yesterday from this same number from “David Watson”, too. I was very suspicious at first. But when he wanted to get remote access to my computer, I knew for certain it was a scam. I told him that it was my sister’s computer and I had no access to the passoword. So he left the number and his name, but I knew then it was BS cause a heavily accented Indian voice with David Watson as a name? Please. I also had two computers – one running 7 and one running 8. He didn’t know about the 8 until I mentioned it. He’s all, “I need to discuss your computer, it has serious problems!” I’m like, “Which one, I have two.” Probably thought he’d scored, get two computers for one phone call. What really annoyed me, was when I’d answer that I didn’t need this stupid service, he was like, “Please, get in front of your computer, madam.” Over and over and over.

        Posted by Donna Castellano | January 20, 2014, 3:33 am
  12. This just happened to me! phone number 205-280-0212, and when I call this number back, the number is disconnected! Unbelievable that these guys haven’t been caught. After being on the phone for 15 minutes where he was having me type in the address http://www.ammyy.com, so that he could logon on to my computer remotely, I went to my mac and typed in “windows service center” where I found this. Told him I knew it was a scam and hung up!

    Posted by kelly gable | October 9, 2013, 8:36 pm
    • My caller had an American accent that sounnded phony. I told the caller I was recording the call in case my computer needed furtherr attention but hung up when asked to enter Win+R. He phoned me back immediately and told me “Go and f… your mother.” Nice language from Windows!

      Posted by Trevor Page | October 11, 2013, 2:24 pm
    • I now answer when they call and tell them that I have called the FBI, and the phone is tapped, the ass hung up as soon as I said that.

      Posted by chris | October 18, 2013, 12:52 am
      • Received a call this morning from 435-668-9652 told them I would call Window’s myself if I had any issues. Their pitch is lame and week. Not to mention, how would they get your phone number if it is not attached to your PC.

        Posted by Noto4dhill | November 7, 2013, 4:24 pm
  13. Ha, they called me too couple of days ago. I realized that it’s a scam as I am a Linux user and it would be strange to receive calls from Microsoft. Anyway, I was in a good mood and decided to play along to see what they are up to. They asked me to press key combination (Win+R), which on Windows machines brings up “Run” window, then they ask to type in “inf” and click “Run”. That should bring up the “inf” folder within Windows installation. The guy then asks if I downloded all these files? Then says it’s all viruses that landed on my PC without my permission, and I have to “very carefully” close that folder and follow his instructions, which are, as you know, to download their software to fix my PC, then charge me a fee. Anyway, this is not how it went.
    I pretended to be very clumsy with computers and “hardly could find” a windows key, etc, etc. At first, guy was very helpfull trying to help me, but in 10 min his patience was over and he put me onto “his manager”. Here the story repeats and in the next 5 min I succeed to open that “inf” folder and begged them to help me to remove these viruses. :)
    Next part was to download their software. Again I could not find how to start a browser, and how to type in their URL, then I “mistype” the URL, etc, etc. Managers patience is over too and he puts me onto female “supervisor”. She is nice and helpfull, as you can imagine, but she is not able to make me download that thing :). So after 10 more minutes she puts me on to their “head manager”. He realizes, that it’s no point to teach me all the browser stuff and changes strategy. He told me that if I paid €10 licence renewal fee, he could fix it all remotely.
    I agreed happily. The next 20 min I was giving him fake card numbers, which he tries to process on his end, but of course it fails. The guy got really in patient and his tone eventually started to rise. When I got tired of this I told them that the cards are not working because these are debit cards and my bank does not allow me to use them abroad. But luckily I have a credit card, which works everywhere, it has €10,000 credit limit and I never used it. The scam guy started to be nice again :) When it came up to the point where I had to give the name on the card, I told him that it is very complicated name and I should spell it and he has to write it down first. And I started “F” for factory, “U” for uniform, “C” for cake, “K” for kilo, “O” for oscar and 2x “F” for factory. And then I asked him to read it. He realized what is going on, started to explode from anger and hang up.
    Call duration was 53 min. Even though it was waist of time, I had good fun. :)

    Posted by vabals | September 28, 2013, 11:05 am
    • I have been getting these as early as 6 AM in the morning. Same thing they want me to hit ctrl, windows, and R. When I ask them how they know it’s my computer they come up with some PC number, but then say the last part of the number they are not allowed to share with. They say I’m transmitting errors all over the internet so they know it’s coming from my house. I have two phone numbers that ended up showing up, but when calling back they don’t work. How can you get them to stop….

      Posted by gail | October 8, 2013, 5:06 pm
  14. We have been getting these type of calls a lot lately. Just tell these idiots, How can Microsoft know that we are having problems, as our computer is an “apple”. They must have taken a college course titled “when to hang up on people that know they are being scammed.

    Posted by Marsha | September 28, 2013, 4:39 am
  15. Keep receiving this call. I have recorded the conversation a few times. Today I was bored and played along. After about 7 minutes of instructions the guy asked what was on my screen. I laughed and asked if he actually thought I was that stupid? He yelled at me and asked why I was wasting his time. He said if I didn’t follow his instructions he would call the FBI on me.I said great, lets call right now together. I asked him if he was in India and he said no, he is in Afghanistan and is with the Taliban. I asked him to repeat what he said and he threatened me stating he was with the Taliban. I told him I was recording the call and now had his voice on a .wav file. He hung up.

    Posted by mc0117 | September 27, 2013, 9:01 pm
  16. I got the same type of call as described above. They claimed to be from the Windows Service Center. It came up as private call on my caller ID. I suspected scam immediately and let them humor me for awhile. When I wouldn’t give him access to my computer he got upset because he heard me laughing at him lol. He asked why I was laughing, I said because I knew he wanted into my computer to plant a virus and get my info and I couldn’t help but laugh at him. I asked for the number to the company which was 302-309-9165. What a joke. The number he called me on was my home number I only use to make outgoing calls. Nobody has it. He sounded like he was from India. Bunch of crooks. Which I could meet the prick in person.

    Posted by kip | September 25, 2013, 11:44 pm
    • I’m located in Melbourne. We get a lot of unsolicited phone calls here. The latest was from an Indian lady with the seemingly fake name of Nancy Williams. She claimed to be from Microsoft Windows Service Dept. Even gave an address and email. Said she lives in Brisbane.
      Nasty piece of work! Beware the Indian scammers!

      Posted by Paul Holbourne | January 14, 2014, 7:08 am
  17. I just got off the phone with them and the guy said he was from the WSC and I needed to know that my windows wasn’t operating properly lol. I told him that there was no way for him to know that.. He told me that this company was receiving errors from my computer many times in one day. What a scammer! he just kept saying that if my windows crashes it would be my fault lol. I told him okie no problem. He wasn’t too happy and kept saying that it would crash today if I didn’t let him help me! Ya ok buddy, sure. I guess they think people are gullible, unfortunately they have too good of a thing going cause obviously someone still falls for their lines.. :( It’s too bad that people don’t realize that it’s a scam until it’s too late.

    Posted by Momof6 | September 23, 2013, 8:43 pm
  18. I love messing with these guys. I’ve had my daughter sing to them off key. I’ve told them that I used to help monitor Verizon’s DSL network and I’ve worked with Microsoft engineers multiple times and know their processes (true). But my favorite was when I played along, asked the guy to hold on for a second while I did something, took the phone in the bathroom, pretended to cry uncontrollably while pausing to flush the toilet, then came back on the phone like nothing was wrong ready to work with them. For some reason, they like to hang up on me. I wonder why? :)

    Posted by Jeff | September 5, 2013, 2:01 pm
  19. I was contacted today (from phone number 888-274-2951) by who claimed to be from Microsoft Window’s Service Center. The phone call was exactly as described – “The Microsoft Window’s Service Center scam”. Where can you report a scam?

    Posted by Norma Hill | August 28, 2013, 3:09 am
  20. We’ve gotten a call several times this week. We know its a scam. I tell them to hold on, put them on mute for about 10 minutes then give it to my son. He plays along with them then hangs up when he’s bored.

    Posted by mysterymom | August 24, 2013, 11:52 pm
  21. These people called me 3 times today. The also contacted me last week. Of course, I did not give them any information. They were very testy after I told them that the phone call was a scam. The user began to use profainity and told me that me to go my mother. I have no idea how to get rid of these people.

    Posted by JD | August 24, 2013, 3:01 am
  22. 0428588512 was the number of the person who called me with this scam. They had an indian accent. Think I might call them with the same scam…. Lol

    Posted by bob | August 23, 2013, 6:15 am
  23. I just got off the phone with this person. Thank god I didn’t give any information. He did however get into my computer. What can I do to protect myself now. I kept asking how he got my number, and he kept saying that it was on the registration when I purchased the computer. This info is completely false, as I never use my home number, only my cell. Where do you go to report this? I’m livid right now.

    Posted by Ellen Young | August 17, 2013, 11:26 pm
  24. My daughter was scammed by these people

    Posted by Sering | August 8, 2013, 7:27 am
  25. I get a call from them at least three times a week. Today I asked to speak to a supv. and he called me an f’n bastard (among many other things). How can I stop these calls? My caller ID shows “unknown name, unknown number”.

    Posted by Dan | August 7, 2013, 4:28 pm
    • If anyone knows how to stop the calls, I would be interested. I get them three to five times a week. For about a month now. I have had it. I have asked them to stop so many times I can not keep count. They told me they would not stop and would keep calling. Short of changing my phone number, I am at a loss. The phone company has told me they can do nothing. I have reported it to the do not call list several times. I am about to get mad.

      Posted by Sparky | August 17, 2013, 4:00 am
  26. i told them i didn’t have a computer but asked if they’d like my social security number anyway? she stumbled for an answer and i hung up but should’ve stayed on but am expecting a call so no time to play.

    Posted by sessi b.b. | August 7, 2013, 12:32 am
  27. July 24th, 12:30 pm Seattle, Washington. Just received the phone call from WSC and the agent provided me with the name Shane Miller, ID number WSC8600052 and a callback number for “Microsoft” as 210 888 9121. The agent had no trouble claiming to be official and providing “identification”, even stating that Microsoft would know his credentials and defend his call to me. The man was very defensive as I simply explained he was doing something wrong trying to scam people and even tried to deny that unsolicited phone calls are harassment. I had a blast.

    Posted by just got the call | July 24, 2013, 7:37 pm
  28. They called me just now, it was exactly as described above. Tried to make me believe that all of the events in Event Viewer were from hackers or malware and my computer was basically a source of malicious activity on the Internet. then tried to get me to download TeamViewer, http://www.teamviewer.com, which is a software for IT professionals that lets other people into your computer. That’s when I said I was uncomfortable, and they said “that’s ok, you can hang up”. Which I did.

    Posted by Jeremy | July 20, 2013, 1:02 am
  29. I just got called and I asked what my IP address was he got rude and starting talking about what he was going to do to my daughter. I get called about every 6 weeks.

    Posted by Mike Thompson | July 15, 2013, 11:07 pm
  30. Called from an Alaskan number (907)829-8946 I shut the guy down when I heard the name. Absolute crap

    Posted by Wolf | July 15, 2013, 4:17 pm
  31. I -was contacted by this today and they gave me a false call back number -1-866-622-2747…..What a bunch of idiots. It comes up as 103 when you receive the call. How stupid do these people think consumers are?

    Posted by Katy | July 9, 2013, 3:13 pm
    • They called me at 7am this morning! When I said I didn’t have time for this – assuming it was a scam – they asked for a better time to call back. I said after 6pm because I work and they said they stop work at 5pm but they could call on Saturday. Yeah, that sounds like Microsoft all right!! We’ll see if they call back….

      Posted by Alicia | July 11, 2013, 4:32 pm
      • This happened to me yesterday! I knew it was a scam because they called me on my WORK number!!! I asked them what kind of computer brand I had (Dell, etc.) they said it was not their area of expertise. Of course, when you register your computer, that information is typically indicated. I was super rude to this guy, mainly because he was pushy and there is NO WAY I would give him any information. I’m sure he’ll call me back tonight. We’ll have a nice long chat over a cup of tea…

        Posted by Kelly | August 8, 2013, 3:37 pm

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