SCAM ALERT: Microsoft Doesn't Need to Fix Your Computer

March 29, 2012

A Montana man got a call this morning from “Microsoft.” Only the “employee” spoke broken English with a heavy accent. He claimed the consumer’s computer had gotten a virus. Would he please go to this website so “Microsoft” could remote into his computer and fix it.


The consumer asked which computer and the caller said “the one with Windows 7.”

“But I don’t have a computer with Windows 7.”

“Oh. Well, I meant Windows XP.”

Uh, huh. The consumer hung up and called us, the BBB. We were able to tell him that according to the legitimate Microsoft website, this scam has been running since approximately 2008.

How it works: The cold caller demonstrates where your computer “problems” are and then convinces you to pay a fee for a service to fix them and/or to buy a one-year computer maintenance subscription.

In reality, nothing is wrong with your computer beyond having it remotely controlled by a scammer.

According to Stuart Strathdee, Microsoft Australia’s chief security advisor, where this scam made the rounds in 2010, “Microsoft is not cold calling consumers in regards to malfunctioning PCs, viruses or any other matter.”

What should you do if you receive a call like this? Hang up. You can also contact your local police department, Microsoft, and/or the Better Business Bureau.