New Twist on Phone Scam Using “Microsoft Windows” Name Hits Bluegrass

  
     
June 07, 2017

Victims Told Their Microsoft License Key Has Expired

(Lexington) – Central Kentucky residents are receiving phone calls from scammers claiming to be with “Microsoft” giving a dire warning…renew your Microsoft license key or your computer will go dark.

Better Business Bureau® serving Central & Eastern Kentucky heard from a Lexington senior citizen who fell for the scam.  The woman followed instructions from the caller allowing him access to her Windows laptop. He told her to go to a nearby retailer to buy iTunes cards in the amount of $300 to cover a “3 year license fee.” She did so, and read the numbers off the back of the cards to the caller.  When the con artist asked for additional money, she suspected a scam and hung up.

BBB also heard from a Bourbon County resident who received the call but did not fall for it.  The scam can also occur via a “pop up” warning while a user is online. Allowing a scammer access to a computer can allow them to place viruses on the machine and steal personal and financial information.

Cyber experts say these scammers are counting on the fact that PC users won’t realize that most software license keys on an individual’s computer don’t expire.  Certain software (such as Microsoft Office suite) might expire, but the operating system on a computer should not.

Microsoft warns of these scams on their website, stating “Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication we have with you must be initiated by you.” 

This is the latest twist on fraudulent phone calls purporting to be from “Microsoft” telling victims that their computers are full of viruses they can remove, for a fee.

BBB urges the public to hang up on these calls and ignore voice messages. Never pay unknown callers through untraceable methods like iTunes or other reloadable cards. Victims needing to hire a local computer service company to check their machines can contact BBB at www.bbb.org/lexington or (859) 259-1008 for names of BBB Accredited computer service businesses they can trust.

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 Contact the Better Business Bureau serving Central & Eastern Kentucky to check out companies, charities, or to report problems and scams by calling the Lexington office at (859) 259-1008 or toll-free 1-800-866-6668. Services are also available by logging on to www.bbb.org/lexington.