North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
Submit this request

Need tech support? Beware of the latest telemarketing scam, warns AG Cooper

Release date: 11/4/2011

Scammers posing as Microsoft tech support attempt to steal your information, money

Raleigh:  North Carolina consumers have reported getting calls from phony tech support specialists who are out to access their personal information and steal their hard-earned money, Attorney General Roy Cooper warned today. 
 
“Be suspicious of anyone who calls out of the blue offering to fix a problem with your computer,” Cooper said. “If you need assistance with your computer, seek out real help rather than responding to these calls.”
 
More than a dozen North Carolinians have called Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division in the last two weeks to report suspicious calls from phony tech support specialists claiming to be partners with Microsoft or Windows. 
 
According to reports from consumers, the phony tech specialist claims that the consumer’s computer has a virus and that they can fix the problem. The caller then directs the consumer to take a series of steps, supposedly to get rid of the computer virus. Some consumers are asked to locate "Computer Options" on their computer, go to www.windowsonlinesupport.com, scroll down the page and run a scan on their computer.
 
Following the steps actually gives the phony tech specialist access to all of the data stored on the consumer’s computer. At this point, the scammer may demand payment for installing “security software.”
 
Consumers report that the callers have South Asian accents and are calling from a call center with a lot of background noise. Most consumers hang up rather than completing the steps, but the tech support scammers often call back.
 
The calls seem to target seniors and other consumers who may not be as technologically savvy. 
 
If you receive one of these phony tech support calls, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Microsoft and other computer and software companies do not make unsolicited calls offering tech support.
  • Do not follow the caller’s instructions. If you need tech support, contact the computer or software company at a number you know to be valid.
  • Never share personal information, such as bank account and credit card numbers, with anyone you don’t know who contacts you.
 
If you’ve fallen victim to this or a similar scam:
  • Contact your bank or credit card company to dispute the charge for any money you paid.
  • Immediately run anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. 
  • Monitor your credit report and place a security freeze on your credit, especially if you store sensitive financial information on your computer or use it to bank online.
 
Consumers who have questions or may have fallen victim to this scam should contact Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division. Call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a consumer complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov .

  Contact:  Noelle Talley, (919) 716-6484